The New York Red Bulls will come off a very well-played match last week against D.C. United to face the Columbus Crew SC on Saturday March 28th at 7:00pm. The Crew did not play during Week 3, which means they should be rested for the much anticipated matchup.
The Crew will be without midfielders Wil Trapp & Justin Meram, and defenseman Waylon Francis who will all be away on international duty during the March FIFA window. Additionally, Romain Gall may be out of action with a knee sprain. All of these players will be severely missed by Columbus. Each of the international players contributed at least one goal or assist during their matchup with Toronto FC.
Here are some of the big names that RBNY will have to face without a few defenders of their own:
Steve Clark (GK; 1 clean sheet, 180 MP): Clark registered 3 saves in his shutout at home versus Toronto. Not an easy task when you have superstars Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley and Sebastian Giovinco knocking on your door.
Hernan Grana (DEF; 1 clean sheet, 172 MP): Grana has had two huge games to start off the season. He has heavily contributed on both the offensive and defensive ends, which could spell trouble in the transition game for RB. Michael Parkhurst and Emanuel Pogatetz are two of the other players to watch on the Crew backline.
Ethan Finlay (MID; 1 assist, 158 MP): Finlay has been the most consistent out of the Crew midfield. He contributed an assist during the Toronto win. He'll look to control the ball and get Kimara & Higuaín through to goal. He won't have Trapp or Meram to rely on for distribution.
Kei Kamara (FWD; 1 goal, 180 MP): The Once a Crew has returned to his original club to breathe life into an offense that has historically struggled. His speed and newly-found European experience will be an important factor for the Crew as they look to make a playoff push. RB will also have to stop the elusive Federico Higuaín who has always give teams trouble.
During the preseason, the Crew were picked by MLS experts to challenge Toronto and New England for the Eastern Conference title, and become Shield contenders. Only the game will tell if they have the depth to do so while some of their better players are off serving their countries.