Preview: New York Red Bulls v. Columbus Crew

(Image, New York Red Bulls Facebook)

(Image, New York Red Bulls Facebook)

While the New York Red Bulls have enjoyed the better results against the Columbus Crew over their recent history, it does not mean they have dominated the Black and Yellow.

Their last meeting (a 1-0 win in Columbus) was well earned, but did need some extra heroics from Luis Robles who stopped Federico Higuain on a penalty kick to keep the Red Bulls in the game.

Ever the scrappy side, Columbus is in desperate need of points, and Red Bulls boss Mike Petke knows beating them will not come easy.

“Yeah, I mean they have quality players; they are good on the counterattack, they are very good on set pieces, dangerous,” he noted. “One thing they are is they’re organized. They are a team that has always been traditionally organized, disciplined in their shape and they are capable with the players that they have to get forward and punish you if you fall asleep for a second.

“This is a big game for us,” he noted. “Not only that, but it’s a conference game so it’s huge for us to keep going (this) way and the momentum that we have.”

How will the Red Bulls fare? We break it down in this week’s preview:

PROJECTED LINEUP (4-4-2): Robles; Kimura, Holgersson, Olave, Miller; Juninho, McCarty, Cahill, Steele; Henry, Espindola

HISTORY: Red Bulls 25-23-7 (14-9-4 at home)

LAST ENCOUNTER: Red Bulls 1-0 Columbus Crew (May 4th, 2013)

BATTLE TO WATCH: Thierry Henry v. Danny O’Rourke. The last time these two team’s met, New York matched the Crew’s physicality but make no mistake; Danny O’Rourke made his mark by shutting Henry out of the offense. Can he pull it off again?

X-FACTOR: Jairo Arrieta. Suspended from the match, the Crew striker leaves a gaping hole in the team’s offensive strategy that may tip the scales towards New York.

OUTCOME:

Designated Player Tim Cahill has been with the team less than a year but is already learning playing styles of his opponents. The Columbus Crew took him little time to read.

“I think they are very physical,” he said. “I think they are one of the most physical teams I’ve played against and defensively they kept us really quiet away from home. In the midfield they are pretty rough, [Tony] Tchani and [Danny] O’Rourke.

Besides their toughness, they have pieces up top that can beat a team despite Arrieta’s absence.

“Up front they have the nimble players that can score goals,” he detailed. “Higuain is a danger, but also the players that are around him are really dangerous. They are a physical team, a great football team, and for us we just need to be on our game and make sure that we are focused on trying to get the three points.”

After a hectic start to the season, New York has hit a stride with their six game unbeaten streak. Now settling into a regular schedule, Thierry Henry and his men hope they have learned enough about themselves in the past few weeks to carry them past a difficult opponent.

“It is not easy to beat Columbus or any team in this league no matter how your run is or their run is,” Henry said. “That is the thing, don’t take anything for granted and make sure we can perform. Walk out in training and like I said, trying to do better every Sunday or Saturday, whenever the game is.”

PREDICTION: 2-1 Red Bulls
Season Record: 4-10
Perfect Predictions: 1