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New York Red Bulls vs. Columbus Crew October 1 Betting Preview
The September International Break is over, and that means it is time for a sprint to the finish of the regular season in the MLS. For the Columbus Crew, they are currently on the outside looking in at a playoff spot.
With three games to play, the Crew have 42 points which is tied for seventh, but they are on the wrong side of a tiebreaker with Inter Miami CF.
The final stretch begins with a home game on Saturday against third-place New York Red Bulls. The Red Bulls have already clinched a playoff spot but are trying to hold off NYCFC for a top-three finish. Kickoff at Lower.com Field in Columbus is set for 7:30 p.m.
Pressure Is On For Crew
Saturday’s game is the final regular season home game for the Crew and the team is expecting a franchise-record crowd.
The Crew head to Charlotte Wednesday to make up a game abandoned due to inclement weather over the summer, and they finish next Sunday at Orlando City. Orlando is currently three points ahead of the Crew in the standings.
The Crew drew 1-1 at Red Bulls in March with a stoppage-time goal from Darlington Nagbe. Last October, they fell to RBNY at home 2-1 and beat the Red Bulls at home in September by the same 2-1 score.
That October win was the first in Columbus for the Red Bulls since 2013 and they have just three wins on the road in this series over the last 20 years.
The Crew will have to find a way to shut down the Red Bulls without their most important defender. Centerback Johnathan Mensah, the heart and soul of the defense, will miss the game with a left thigh injury. He suffered the injury against Miami earlier this month and missed the 1-1 draw against Portland.
Columbus has had late game issues this season, and they met as a team over the break to try and figure out why they can’t close out games. Against Portland on September 18 they allowed a goal in the 95th minute, marking the ninth point they have dropped after the 90th minute this season. That mark is the most in MLS history and could keep the Crew out of the playoffs as they would be in third, ahead of the Red Bulls with nine more points.
Cucho Hernandez continues to impress for the Crew. In 15 games since joining the team, he has nine goals and two Aussies while putting 26 shots on goal. He is second on the team in goals behind Lucas Zelarayan’s 11, and Cucho has contributed to a goal in two of the last three games.
Red Bulls Finishing Strong
With two games left, the Red Bulls can’t catch Philadelphia Union or CF Montreal for the top two spots in the East. However, they want to finish third which means they avoid the Union until the Eastern Conference Final. The Red Bulls are one point up on NYCFC and three up on FC Cincinnati and they will host Charlotte FC in the finale next Sunday.
The last time the Red Bulls saw the field they lost 2-0 against rivals NYCFC on September 17. They haven’t lost consecutive games all season and if they avoid a loss Saturday, this will be the third time in franchise history they have accomplished the feat.
RBNY is fantastic on the road. They have set a team record for most wins (9) and most points (30) on the road this season, ranking second in MLS to Montreal in both categories. A win on Saturday pulls them even with Montreal in road wins.
Lewis Morgan leads the Red Bulls with 14 goals on the season while Omir Fernandez has six assists. Forward Patryk Klimala is questionable with an ankle injury and Frankie Amaya is questionable with a groin injury. Key defender Aaron Long played for the USMNT in Europe over the break and may not play all 90 minutes after a busy week of travel.
New York Red Bulls (+220) Money Line
Columbus Crew (+120) Money Line
Both Teams To Score: (Yes -140) No (+110)
The atmosphere at Lower.com should be electric all day on Saturday but that won’t intimidate the Red Bulls. The Crew need to draw from the crowd and play aggressive soccer from whistle to whistle. This is a mostly veteran team, desperate for a result and if they play together, they can pull off the win.
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