Columbus Crew at New York Red Bulls Betting Preview
If the defending MLS champion Columbus Crew are going to right the ship in 2021 this is a big week. After falling out of the playoff spot with another loss last weekend, the Crew head to 11th place New York Red Bulls on Wednesday before a national TV showdown against Seattle Sounders on Saturday. Wednesday’s road game at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ kicks off at 8:00 p.m. ET and will be televised on Bally Sports Ohio, streamed on ESPN+.
The last time the Crew went east they met with disaster and a 4-1 loss to NYCFC at Yankee Stadium July 30. They have had success against the Red Bulls though with three wins last season, including a 3-2 win at Red Bull Arena in July. They also eliminated RBNY from the 202 MLS Cup Playoffs en route to the title.
Crew Offense is MIA
The Crew offense has suddenly disappeared, and with it so have the positive results. Columbus has lost four straight games for the first time in more than two years and it marks the longest losing streak for a defending MLS champion since 2014. Prior to this streak, they had three losses total in the last 20 matches.
The offense is the biggest culprit as they aren’t producing many chances, outside of free kicks. Lucas Zelarayan remains the league’s best threat on set pieces but too often that is the only way the Crew get a look at the goal. They didn’t score in Chicago on Sunday and managed just one shot on goal in 90 minutes.
Even with the starting lineup back intact and Zelrayan playing behind USMNT striker Gyasi Zardes, the offense was unable to produce. Pedro Santos has owned Red Bulls in his career with three goals last season, including two in the win at Red Bull Arena. Zardes scored in two of the three wins against RBNY last year.
Of the Crew’s last six goals, four have been on set pieces. Against Atlanta United, Jonathan Mensah’s header came on a corner and Santos scored on a penalty kick. Santos had a penalty against NYCFC and Mensah also scored on a corner in the previous game.
Coach Caleb Porter remains confident he can get the Crew back to how they were playing last year. However, they are running out of time in the regular season and falling further down the pecking order in the East with an MLS Cup Final rematch against the Sounders looming.
Red Bulls Mired in Slump
The Red Bulls are in 11th place in the East with 19 points and could be in last by the end of the weekend. After hosting the Crew on Wednesday they welcome rivals NYCFC to Red Bull Arena this weekend.
New York hasn’t won at Red Bull Arena since June 18 when they beat Nashville SC 2-0. Since then they have had two draws and a loss at home. Overall they have gone seven in a row without a win since beating Orlando City SC on July 3.
During the winless streak, the Red Bulls have had some bad luck, but have also scored more than one goal just one time. They have been shut out twice and outscored 10-6 in those seven games. Last time out they fell to Montreal 2-1 on a penalty kick in the 98th minute that was retaken three times because of VAR ruling Carlos Coronel left the line early.
The Red Bulls have not had a problem grabbing leads, but holding onto them is a different story. In the last seven games, they have dropped 10 points after leading the game and on the season they lead the MLS in dropping 16 points from a winning position. With those 16 points, they would be in second place in the East instead of 11th.
Columbus Crew +270 Moneyline. +0.5 goals (-150)
RBNY +110 Moneyline. -0.5 goals (-110)
First goal: Red Bulls -140, Crew +140. No Goals +675
The Crew has won three straight against the Red Bulls for the first time since 2001-02. If they are going to turn things around and get back into good playoff seeding it has to start on Wednesday. Look for Zardes, Zelarayan, and Santos to pull some tricks from their bags and lead the Crew to a crucial road win.
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