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November 2018
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Crew SC hosts NY Red Bulls in 2018 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs today at 3 PM

MATCH PREVIEW WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF COLUMBUS CREW SC

 

 

Columbus Crew SC vs. New York Red Bulls
Audi 2018 MLS Cup Playoffs — Conference Semifinals, First Leg
MAPFRE Stadium — Columbus
November 4 — 3 pm ET

 

 

 

After following the same script to pull off a Knockout Round upset for the second year in a row, Columbus Crew SC is looking to knock off a New York-area squad in the Eastern Conference Semifinals in back-to-back years.

The New York Red Bulls are rested after capturing their third Supporters’ Shield title in six years with a Decision Day presented by AT&T win over Orlando City SC coupled with Toronto FC’s victory over Atlanta United.

The MLS originals have met three previous times in the postseason with Crew SC winning each matchup, including the 2008 MLS Cup and, most recently, the Eastern Conference final in 2015, prevailing 2-1 on aggregate.

At MAPFRE Stadium in June, the Red Bulls spent much of the game defending and Crew SC took a deserved lead on a 26th-minute goal by Gyasi Zardes before Alex Muyl leveled in the 57th minute in a 1-1 draw.

At Red Bull Arena in late July, Jonathan Mensah and Patrick Mullins struck, followed by a Sean Davis own goal to give Columbus a 3-0 lead after 31 minutes. The Red Bulls roared back after halftime and pulled to within a goal on a Mensah own goal and a Daniel Royer goal in the 69th minute, but the Black & Gold would prevail 3-2, becoming just the second team this year to win in Harrison and the only team in the East the Red Bulls didn’t beat this year.

COLUMBUS CREW SC NOTES

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: M – Federico Higuain, M – Eduardo Sosa
  • International duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: M – Mike Grella (left knee meniscectomy), M – Pedro Santos (right leg injury)

Projected Starting XI
(4-2-3-1, right to left)
GK: Zack Seffen — Harrison Afful, Jonathan Mensah, Gaston Sauro, Milton Valenzuela — Artur, Wil Trapp — Niko Hansen, Federico Higuain, Justin Meram — Gyasi Zardes

  • Notes: Higuain’s brace against D.C. United was his ninth all time for the Crew – tops for the team since 2007. … Including the playoffs Columbus is undefeated in four against the Red Bulls at home (3W-1D). They haven’t been held scoreless in Ohio vs New York since May 4, 2013.

NEW YORK RED BULLS NOTES

What seemed like a long shot became a reality last Saturday when the Red Bulls captured a third Supporters’ Shield title in six years following a 1-0 win over Orlando City SC on Decision Day.

Now, the Red Bulls begin a quest to capture a first-ever MLS Cup after 22 years of postseason failure.

  • Suspended: None
  • Suspended after next caution: None
  • International duty: None
  • Injury Report: OUT: M – Florian Valot (torn left ACL), D – Kyle Duncan (torn right ACL), M – Vincent Bezecourt (right MCL surgery), D – Tommy Redding (shoulder surgery), M – Ben Mines (broken left clavicle surgery)

Projected Starting XI
(4-2-3-1, right to left)
GK: Luis Robles — Michael Murillo, Tim Parker, Aaron Long, Kemar Lawrence — Tyler Adams, Sean Davis — Alex Muyl, Kaku, Danny Royer — Bradley Wright-Phillips

  • Notes: Bradley Wright-Phillips averaged 1.0 goals+assists per 90 in the regular season, tied for his best average in a season since joining the Red Bulls in 2013. … The Red Bulls kept 15 clean sheets in 2018, tied for the third-most ever in a MLS season. Four of those came in road games, tied for their second most in a season since 2010.

All-Time Series (Regular Season)

Officials

Referee: Nima Saghafi
Assistant Referees: Peter Manikowski, Jose J. Da Silva
4th Official: Armando Villarreal
VAR: Mark Geiger