New York Red Bulls preview
For the Red Bulls, the equation is quite simple. If they win their last two matches then they’ll secure the Eastern Conference crown and secure a first round bye in the playoffs. It looks unlikely that they can now defend their Supporters Shield crown, for that to happen both Colorado and Dallas would have to have horrible endings to their season. On the face of things, taking victory at Columbus and Philly should be quite simple. This first match especially shouldn't test them too much. NYRB are unbeaten in a whopping 14 MLS games and are usually so strong in front of their own fans at Red Bull Arena. They have a 12-2-2 record in front of their own fans, in addition to an excellent goal difference. The hosts have suffered injury problems at the back all season with the likes of Baah, Lade & Zubar all now likely ruled out for the rest of the season. But this has been the case for quite some time now and Jesse Marsch’s men have adapted.
Columbus Crew preview
Last year’s runners up in the MLS Cup final are now out of the playoff race after failing to beat Chicago Fire on Thursday night. In what was quite a remarkable fixture, the Crew led 1-0 only to throw away that advantage in the space of five second half minutes. They managed to get back level, but despite a ton of late attempts, somehow failed to collect three points. Despite showing improved recent form, the Crew left themselves too much to do and it rather sums up their season that things have ended this way. Now they have nothing to play for except pride and are likely to be very flat following their disappointment three nights ago. Injuries have plagued Columbus all season and key playmaker Federico Higuain & defender Gaston Sauro have been missing for too much of the campaign which has really hindered them. I would expect a few fringe players might be given a start here and a chance to catch the eye.
Conclusion & betting analysis
I think there are two obvious plays here which I’m happy to take. The first is to back The Red Bulls on a -1 Asian handicap. I think they could run away with this game. The gulf in class is quite vast between the two teams and motivation levels are completely different. The Crew are going to be really flat and probably won't care. They also might be lacking physical freshness after a ridiculously end to end match on Thursday night. New York should at very worst win, but I fancy it’ll be by quite a decent margin and taking them -1 Asian looks a no brainer. My second selection is slightly more risky but I think over 3 goals is work backing too. Columbus might not carry much motivation but they are naturally an attacking team and will probably have a good go in the final third. They have nothing to lose any more and I could see them sneaking a goal at some stage. However, they are also going to leave a lot of gaps at the back and the Red Bull offense could feast on these opportunities. I think something like a 3-1 home win, or by an even bigger margin is potentially on the cards.
Recommended bets both 1 unit: New York Red Bulls -1 Asian handicap @ 1.75 & Over 3 goals @ 1.78