The MLS Cup playoffs are set to kick off this weekend with an Eastern Conference match-up as New York Red Bulls lock horns with Columbus Crew at the Columbus Crew Stadium on Saturday. Both teams have enjoyed good seasons and will want to progress to the next stage of the competition.
Columbus Crew finished in an impressive third place in the MLS Eastern Conference standings and have been one of the better teams in the league. The Crew pipped Atlanta United to a 2-1 victory in their previous game and will be confident ahead of this fixture.
New York Red Bulls recovered from a relatively slow start to the regular season and finished in sixth place in the MLS table. The Red Bulls defeated Toronto FC by a 2-1 margin earlier this month and will have to be at their best to stand a chance in this game.
Columbus Crew SC vs New York Red Bulls Head-to-Head
Columbus Crew and New York Red Bulls are on an even footing as far as the head-to-head record is concerned and have won 16 games apiece from the 40 official fixtures that they have played against each other in the past.
The previous meeting between the two Eastern Conference sides in the group stage of the 'MLS is Back' tournament ended in a comprehensive 2-0 victory for Columbus Crew. Lucas Zelarayan and Gyasi Zardes scored on the day and will want to replicate their heroics in this game.
Columbus Crew SC form guide in the MLS: W-L-W-L-D
New York Red Bulls form guide in the MLS: W-L-W-D-D
Columbus Crew SC vs New York Red Bulls Team News
Columbus Crew SC
Columbus Crew defender Vito Wormgoor is currently recuperating from ankle surgery and will not be available for this fixture. The home side has a strong squad and will have to work hard to win this game.
Injured: Vito Wormgoor
New York Red Bulls
New York Red Bulls have a few injuries to account for and will have to do without Patrick Seagrist in this week's game. The Red Bulls are unlikely to make drastic changes to the line-up and will hope that they can pull off a victory in this game.
Injured: Patrick Seagrist
Columbus Crew SC vs New York Red Bulls Predicted XI
Columbus Crew SC Predicted XI (4-2-3-1): Andrew Tarbell; Harrison Afful, Jonathan Mensah, Josh Williams, Milton Valenzuela; Darlington Nagbe, Artur; Derrick Etienne, Lucas Zelarayan, Pedro Santos; Gyasi Zardes
New York Red Bulls Predicted XI (4-2-3-1): Ryan Meara; Jason Pendant, Tim Parker, Aaron Long, Kyle Duncan; Dru Yearwood, Sean Davis; Florian Valot, Alejandro Romero, Daniel Royer; Tom Barlow
Columbus Crew SC vs New York Red Bulls Prediction
Columbus Crew have a potent forward line and the likes of Lucas Zelarayan and Gyasi Zardes can potentially guide the home side across the finish line against New York Red Bulls. The Crew have been fairly consistent over the course of the season and hold the slight upper hand in this game.
New York Red Bulls have an impressive attacking force but their defence has failed to step up on several occasions this season. The Red Bulls might be able to trouble Columbus Crew but are unlikely to pick up a victory in this game.
Prediction: Columbus Crew SC 3-2 New York Red Bulls