Preview: Columbus Crew vs. New York Red Bulls

For the third time in six years, the New York Red Bulls are Supporters Shield champions. They survived a mid-year coaching change to ultimately pull ahead of Atlanta United on the final day of the season. Now, they look to exorcise their playoff demons, starting with a trip to Columbus for leg one of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

Heading into the playoffs, the Red Bulls have won five of five. During that stretch, they scored nine goals and allowed just one. In previous years, defensive lapses have resulted in early postseason exits for the Red Bulls. New York fans will remember the 2015 Eastern Conference finals against this very same Columbus side, in which Justin Meram scored just 9 seconds into the series. This year, the Red Bulls boast the best defense in MLS, and will not give up goals so easily.

Columbus come into this game after defeating D.C. United at Audi Field. For the second year in a row, Columbus won their knockout round match in a penalty shootout. This home game will be especially meaningful for the supporters as it is a chance to show why the Crew deserves to stay in Columbus. Fans across the league rejoiced as it was recently announced the Crew would not be moving to Austin after all. If Columbus are to have any chance in this one, Gyasi Zardes will have to add to his total of 19 goals on the season.

Over the course of 2018, the Red Bulls have struggled against Columbus. Back in June, they were held to a 1-1 draw at MAPRE Stadium, before losing 3-2 back at Red Bull Arena. However, it’s worth noting that the Red Bulls rotated in both of those games. Regardless, Columbus have proven their ability to play through and over New York’s trademark high press. To move through to the next round, the Red Bulls have to remain locked in for all 180 minutes of this series.

Match Information

Date: Sunday, November 4, 2018

Kick-off: 15:00 (ET) | 20:00 (GMT)

Venue: Mapfre Stadium (capacity: 19,968)

Referee: Nima Saghafi

Broadcasting: ESPN (USA) | TSN (Canada) | Sky Sports Football (United Kingdom)

Previous Meetings

10.16.16: New York Red Bulls 3-2 Columbus Crew

04.22.17: New York Red Bulls 2-0 Columbus Crew

09.23.17: Columbus Crew 3-2 New York Red Bulls

06.09.18: Columbus Crew 1-1 New York Red Bulls 

07.28.18: New York Red Bulls 2-3 Columbus Crew

Current Form

Columbus Crew

D.C. United 2(2)-2(3) (A) | Minnesota United 3-2 (H) | Orlando City 2-1 (A) | Montreal Impact 3-0 (A) | Philadelphia Union 0-0 (H)

New York Red Bulls

Orlando City 1-0 (H) | Philadelphia Union 0-1 (A) | San Jose Earthquakes 1-3 (A) |Atlanta United 2-0 (H) | Toronto 2-0 (H)

Team News

Columbus Crew

Injured: Mike Grella (knee), Pedro Santos (right leg)

New York Red Bulls

Injured: Kyle Duncan (anterior cruciate ligament), Florian Valot (anterior cruciate ligament), Vincent Bezecourt (medial collateral ligament), Tommy Redding (shoulder), Ben Mines (clavicle)

Predicted Lineups

Columbus Crew


Afful – Mensah – Sauro – Valenzuela

Artur – Trapp

Hansen – Higuain – Meram


New York Red Bulls


Murillo – Long – Parker – Lawrence

Adams – Davis

Muyl – Romero Gamarra – Royer


Score Prediction

Columbus Crew 0-1 New York Red Bulls


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