The New York Red Bulls are in Ohio today for the first leg of their MLS Eastern Conference Semifinal against Columbus Crew.
RBNY is the favorite to win the series, due primarily to the simple fact that RBNY just wrapped up the best regular season in MLS history and therefore this year’s squad has a strong claim to the title “Best Ever MLS Team” (as judged by points accumulated in the league; other measures of “best ever” are available). The Red Bulls’ 62-goal, 71-point juggernaut up against a Crew side that snuck into the playoffs with a negative goal difference: not controversial to suggest RBNY looks better equipped to win the series.
But the Crew has history - both ancient and modern - on its side. From the distant past, Columbus can draw encouragement from the fact it has previously played RBNY in two playoff series and one MLS Cup final - and won all those contests. From more recent (and more relevant) history between the sides, there is the fact that the Crew played RBNY twice this season in the league and took away four points: undefeated against the best-ever MLS team is sound cause for confidence.
The Red Bulls’ counterpoint is that they fielded a weakened team in both outings against Columbus this season. And seven wins from their last 10 league games would suggest RBNY has ironed out the wrinkles that manifested as points dropped to the Crew this summer.
The argument will be settled, of course, over two games in November - starting with this one in Columbus.
Per livesoccertv.com, here’s where to find the game if watching from the USA: