The start of the season saw Columbus and New York at completely different ends of the spectrum. The Crew broke out in outstanding fashion, hitting the top of the Eastern Conference in style and showing the league that they were the team to fear. On the other hand, Red Bulls, the team touted to be major cup contenders, began winless in six games. In recent days, however, the tables have turned with New York coming off a very emphatic win over the Houston Dynamo, playing fast buildup, concise passing football that makes them look like a team that should be dominating Europe while Columbus have come off a pair of ties and a loss.
Don’t count Columbus out yet, though. New York have been punished by underestimating Frederico Higuain before, and fatigue from Wednesday’s game will surely play a part in Petke’s lineup. Columbus are playing at home, so don’t expect them to take any prisoners when it comes to attacking the game, especially with New York’s weakness to through balls. New York will look to fight back, playing the counter attack game that helped them crush opposition away from home last year. The perfection of the two teams’ playing styles proves to make this a classic game. We asked our panel of soccer psychics who they think will take the showdown in Ohio.
So without further ado, the predictions for the New York Red Bulls vs Columbus Crew:
Russell McKenzie (@LastWordBigMick)– Lead New York Red Bull Writer, Resident League Wiseman –
New York Red Bulls 2-1 Columbus Crew
With Henry and BWP starting to gel in ways that make opposing fullbacks cringe and cower, the Crew have not yet seen the offensive outbreak that the Red Bulls are about to unleash. That being said, the Crew are for real. They are a massively improved side and not just a flash in the pan. Look for this match to be a battle of Eastern heavyweights. Expect BWP to keep his scoring trend going and for the marauding full back Roy Miller to net one of his own.
Sean Steffen (@SeanSteffen)– MLS writer, Feared Enemy of Eurosnobs everywhere
Columbus 2-1 New York
This is a tough game to call. Look for New York to win the aerial duels against one of the shortest teams in the league. On the offensive, look for Higuain to wreak havoc on a New York defense that has been carved apart by through balls all season. Each team has only been shut out once and neither has a strong defensive line, so expect at least one goal apiece. I’m going to give the edge to Columbus in a 2-1 win.
Rog Cleaves (@TheCleavesiest) – MLS Correspondent, Hipster soccer fan extraordinaire
New York Red Bulls 3 – 1 Columbus Crew
The Columbus Crew is probably wishing they had a turf field right now to keep Thiery Henry at home, but unfortunately he’ll be making the trip to Ohio. As good as Federico Higuaín is at controlling the midfield, he won’t have a lot of opportunities to push high up the field with the Red Bulls bearing down on him constantly. Look for Henry and Bradley Wright-Phillips to notch home some goals and show the league that they’ve got it together at last. The striker that the Red Bulls have needed has gotten hot at just the right time, and Columbus will continue to slip.
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