Nothing gets a team back in high spirits quite like a home win against an arch-rival, and it's safe to say the Red Bulls have been feeling pretty confident this week after a 2-0 shellacking of D.C. United last weekend. Throw in the fact that the team gets to play their second of three straight home games and you have a recipe for a potential surge up the table before the end of April.
Standing in their way this weekend will be a team that has regained its mojo as well: Columbus Crew SC.
Columbus are one of many examples how easy it is for an MLS team to go from worst to first in a single year.
After winning just eight games in 2016, the 2017 Crew already have four wins and are sitting pretty atop the Eastern Conference table (with just a 4-goal differential separating them from the Shield-Leading Portland Timbers).
Their resurgence to the MLS elite has come courtesy of attacking stars Justin Meram, Federico Higuain and Ola Kamara - who have combined for nine of the club's 11 goals and four of their seven assists so far.
It will be crucial for the Red Bulls to get their goals early, as Columbus have proven susceptible to early goals - twice giving up goals in the first five minutes this year - but incredibly stout in the second half (only two goals allowed in the final 45).
This will be a game where the Red Bulls absolutely cannot afford to get sloppy in the final minutes. Nobody wants a repeat of June 25...
Here is the RBNY predicted XI vs Columbus Crew:
GK Luis Robles
DF Kemar Lawrence
DF Aurelien Collin
DF Aaron Long
DF Sal Zizzo - Lade may be good to go, but after a strong performance against DC United, Jesse Marsch will be hesitant to halt Zizzo's current momentum.
DM Tyler Adams
AM Daniel Royer
AM Sacha Kljestan
AM Alex Muyl - Though Gulbrandsen is supposedly match-ready this time, Marsch always feeds the hot hand (or in this case, feet). And after a TotW-worthy performance against D.C., he has the hottest feet at Red Bull Arena.
FW Bradley Wright-Phillips
Bench: Ryan Meara, Damien Perrinelle, Connor Lade, Sean Davis, Derrick Etienne Jr., Fredrik Gulbrandsen, Brandon Allen
Sean Davis has become something of a forgotten man since Tyler Adams snatched his job in Week 4. With many people believing that the Red Bulls are maybe one solid veteran signing away from being a true MLS Cup contender, it's worth wondering if Davis could be used as potential trade bait before the end of this trade window, or in the summer window. Thanks to the recent signings of Dan Metzger and Arun Basuljevic, the well at central midfielder runs fairly deep. Davis would be missed, but for the right price, the tears might dry up pretty quickly...
What do you think?