Friday, August 20
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Aug 19, 2021 at 1am UK
NY Red BullsNew York Red Bulls
Columbus CrewColumbus Crew
Tolkin (33')
Klimala (55')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Hurtado (84')

Preview: New York Red Bulls vs. Columbus Crew - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: New York Red Bulls vs. Columbus Crew - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Thursday's Major League Soccer clash between New York Red Bulls and Columbus Crew, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Two MLS sides on a poor run of form meet on Wednesday as New York Red Bulls welcome Columbus Crew to the Red Bull Arena, with both desperate to pick up a victory.

The two sides are in the bottom half of the Eastern Conference and cannot buy a win at the moment, but will one of them finally manage to collect three points from this encounter?

Match preview

Recently, Red Bulls manager Gerhard Struber has seen his side show flashes of promise and produce plenty of excitement - as they play out his high-pressing style - but the results just aren't coming.

The team normally creates plenty of scoring opportunities, but the attackers are struggling to finish them off, and the team as a whole often looks exhausted as the game enters the final 30 minutes - physically, due to the high press, and mentally, from Struber's constant tactical tinkering.

New York are now winless in seven games, a streak running since their 2-1 victory over Orlando City on Independence Day, and have lost four of their last five. The most recent loss came in painful circumstances on Saturday, when a 98th-minute Victor Wanyama penalty gave CF Montreal a dramatic 2-1 win.

That has seen them fall to 11th in the Eastern Conference and the playoffs are slipping further and further out of reach, so the wait for a first MLS Cup triumph will surely go on for at least another year.

They must now focus on stopping the rot, and Columbus will present them with their best opportunity in a while to do so.

The Ohio side are just one spot and two points outside the playoff positions, but are on a similarly disappointing run of form.

A narrow win against Atlanta United back in July has been followed up by four consecutive losses and there have only been two victories in their last 11 games.

Saturday saw a lacklustre performance end in a 1-0 defeat to Chicago Fire, thanks to a Luka Stojanovic goal in the final 15 minutes, but that is an exception in what has been a string of high-scoring losses.

A 4-1 thrashing by New York City was followed up by 4-2 and 4-3 defeats at home to DC United and Atlanta respectively - performances that make it easy to forget that The Crew are the reigning champions.

A club that conceded the second-fewest goals in MLS a year ago are struggling to keep the ball out of their net this year and, if they are to hold any hope of defending their title, that will need to change sharpish.

New York Red Bulls Major League Soccer form:
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • L
  • L

Columbus Crew Major League Soccer form:
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L

Team News

Red Bulls winger Daniel Royer returned to the bench and made a substitute appearance in the game against Montreal, as he recovers from a thigh injury, and should now be ready for a full 90 minutes.

Andres Reyes also made it back to the matchday squad - if not the pitch - after a hamstring problem, but Youba Diarra remains out with the same issue and it also seems too early for Cameron Harper's return.

Defender Aaron Long is out for the season with a major Achilles' tendon injury.

The Crew are still missing a slew of players through injury, including Aidan Morris and Perry Kitchen with left knee problems, Artur with a hip issue, Milton Valenzuela is out with a thigh injury and Josh Williams is questionable with an ankle problem.

Vito Wormgoor was fit enough for the bench against Chicago and may now be ready to return to the defensive line in a 4-2-3-1 setup.

New York Red Bulls possible starting lineup:
Carlos; Nealis, Edwards, Tarek; Tolkin, Duncan, Gutman, Davis, Clark; Klimala, Royer

Columbus Crew possible starting lineup:
Room; Abdul-Salaam, Jonathan, Wormgoor, Francis; Nagbe, Fraser; Etienne, Zelarayan, Santos; Zardes

We say: New York Red Bulls 1-1 Columbus Crew

Whilst both teams really need a victory, it may well end up that their winless streaks continue. Columbus have had the better of their recent meetings - winning the last three - but their injury list counts against them and New York will be determined to make amends for that galling loss to Montreal.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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