MLS Soccer: Columbus Crew vs NY Red Bulls
Saturday, November 21st, 2015By Ej Garr
MLS Odds: The Eastern Conference finals are set to take place as the top-two finishers from the regular season lock horns at MAPFRE Stadium, as the NY Red Bulls and Columbus Crew battle for the right to play in the MLS Cup.
Columbus is making their first appearance at this stage of the playoffs since the 2008 season, in which the team earned their first and only championship. Ironically, that 2008 Cup win came against these Red Bulls in the finals, while the playoff structure was revised that year. The Red Bulls represented the Western Conference in that season's playoffs, due to the fact that only three teams from the West were represented by the consolidated league table.
The Crew are, of course, led by Sierra Leone national and leading MLS goal scorer this year, Kei Kamara. Kamara tied Toronto's Sebastian Giovinco with 22 goals, while adding eight assists to his MVP candidacy this year.
Kamara scored two of his team’s three goals in the second leg of the Conference semifinals against Montreal, after the Impact had taken the first leg at Stade Saputo 2 - 1.
It took extra time to decide the tilt with Montreal, as the Crew equaled the 2 - 1 result in regulation time, only to set the stage for Kamara, who scored the game-winning goal in the 111th minute of the second extra frame.
Ethan Finlay backed up Kamara's MVP type of season with career highs in goals and assists with 12 and 13 respectively. Six of those assists came on strikes by Kamara, which led all of MLS in combination.
Ohio native and homegrown player Wil Trapp had an injury-ridden season, and sat out after the Vancouver match on April 8, all the way to Independence Day on July 4, making 19 appearances and 17 starts in all this season.
The Red Bulls were one of 10 founding MLS members in 1996, and amazingly they have only one MLS Cup appearance in their history, which as we mentioned came in 2008 against Columbus.
This is the team's second Supporters Shield in the last three seasons, after also taking the 2013 honor which didn't exactly work out well. The Bulls were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs that season, which obviously made the regular season stand for naught.
The Red Bulls were expected to struggle this year, after losing French standout Thierry Henry, Austrailia national Tim Cahill, and their head coach Mike Petke in the off-season.
Director of Operations Ali Curtis did a tremendous job to rebuild the organization, bringing in the likes of Sacha Kljestan, and Long Island native Mike Grella, who scored the 1,000th goal in team history this year, while also adding the quickest goal in the history of MLS this season as well.
We can look back at the season series this year and immediately notice that all three games ended 2 - 1. The Red Bulls took the first meeting at MAPFRE Stadium, while the Crew prevailed at home in the second meeting.
The Red Bulls hosted only one of the three meetings at Red Bull Arena, which was the final installment of the three-game set that saw the Crew score first, only to allow two first half goals to Lloyd Sam and Bradley Wright-Phillips in the defeat.
The Red Bulls advanced to the Conference finals after getting past DC United in the semifinals, taking two 1 - 0 results in the two-legged affair.
Dax McCarty scored the lone goal in the front leg at RFK Stadium, and Wright-Phillips put the final nail in the coffin with an extra-time goal in the second leg. The capital team was pressing to equalize with their own away goal, that would have sent the series to overtime.
Last 10 MLS Meetings:
The NY Red Bulls lead the recent series with 5 Wins, 3 Losses and 2 Draws in the last 10 MLS meetings.
All three regular season meetings this year ended 2 - 1, with the Red Bulls taking two of the three games.
1x2 3-Way Lines:
Columbus Pk -145
NYRB Pk +125
Total O/U 2.5:
Quick Analysis & Prediction
As you can feel free to check back on the three meetings this year between the two teams, we can assure you that we offered the Over in all three contests and went 2 - 0 - 1 as a whole.
The first two meetings offered the 2.5, and the third meeting had the line setters offering a straight 3 on the total, which was obviously a push after the 2 - 1 result.
Here we are again, and the line setters seem to think that because it is a playoff game, that something will change, and we obviously know that the Red Bulls did not surrender a goal to DC United in the semifinals.
That United series with the Red Bulls means absolutely nothing to us, because DC United was falling apart all throughout the second half of the season, and were not expected to give the Red Bulls much of a fight to begin with.
If the line setters think something will change because there is something significant on the line than just a regular season three points, than we can gladly accept the -120 offer on the Over 2.5 in the front leg on this two-legged Conference Finals.
The Over is the play, and we will not likely shy away from a similar play in the second leg in New York next weekend.