New York Red Bulls vs. Columbus Crew: MLS Eastern Championship Soccer Picks

Kevin Stott

Wednesday, November 25, 2015 9:06 PM GMT

Let’s take a look at this contest, the Odds & pertinent handicapping information to make an educated soccer pick or two knowing that RBNY is chasing that 2 goal-deficit here at Home.

Odds Overview
New York Red Bulls vs. Columbus Crew [Monday 00:30] The first-place place finishers in the Eastern Conference, the New York Red Bulls (18-6-10, 62 GF-43 GA), welcome the 2nd-place Columbus Crew (15-8-11, 58 GF-53 GA) in this Eastern Conference Finals Leg 2 from Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey on Sunday night. In Leg 1 on Sunday in Columbus at MAPFRE Stadium, the Crew won, 2-0 to head into this leg with a nice little advantage, holding the Red Bulls without a precious Away goal in the victory as GK Steve Clark notched the Clean Sheet for the Crew. Oddsmakers have made the host Red Bulls -162 favorites here over visiting Columbus (+425) with the Draw priced at +300 (Sky Bet). The Total (Goals) here has been set at 2½, with the vigorish priced at -142 for prospective Over bettors and at +120 for Under bettors (BetVictor). Some Props offered in the MLS Odds Boad for this weekend game: Both Teams To Score: ‘Yes’ -137, ‘No’ +114 (BetVictor); Draw No Bet: New York Red Bulls -400, Crew +275 (bet365); and, To Qualify: New York Red Bulls +275, Crew -400 (BetVictor).

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Columbus Crew SC
The Columbus Crew (6-4-7 Road, 20 GF-28 GA) and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter had a dream start in Leg 1, getting a weird bounce of a header by a RBNY defender goal just 10 seconds off the opening kick which led to a Justin Meram goal and an early 1-0 lead. Columbus then used a Kei Kamara (25 goals) 2nd Half goal to take a 2-0 lead, eventually winning by that Final 2-0 scoreline, setting up this second leg in the Lone Star State this coming weekend. And this game should be a doozy, brother. In Leg 1, the Crew (+150 to win MLS Cup, Sky Bet) starters were: GK Steve Clark; D Tyson Wahl, D Michael Parkhurst, D Waylon Francis, D Harrison Afful; MF Tony Tchani (5 goals), MF Justin Meram (4 goals), MF Federico Higuain (7 goals), MF Wil Trapp, star MF Ethan Finlay (8 goals); and, of course, 30-year-old Sierra Leonean superstar and scoring machine Kamara (25 goals). And it was Kamara’s goal in the 85th minute in Leg 1 which was the big one it gave the Crew that extra 1-goal cushion heading into a hostile Red Bull Arena here, as the Columbus Defenders were absolutely superb down the last 20-minute stretch, holding the prolific Red Bulls at bay as Clark registered the deserved Clean Sheet at MAPFRE Stadium.

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New York Red Bulls FC
The New York Red Bulls (12-2-3 Home, 35 GF-18 GA) are chasing a 2-goal deficit and didn’t get an Away goal in Leg 1, so scoring first here will be imperative for Head Coach Jesse Marsch and the hosts. In the Starting XI for the Red Bulls in that Loss at Columbus on Sunday afternoon: GK Luis Robles; D Sal Zizzo, D Matt Miazga, D Ronald Kubar, D Kemar Lawrence; MF Felipe Martins, MF Lloyd Sam (10 goals), MF Dax McCarty, MF Mike Grella (9 goals), MF Sacha Kljestan (5 goals); and, superstar F Bradley Wright-Phillips (18 goals). So this club is really loaded on the attack (62 goals) and has a very nice bench including players like F Anatole Abang (4 goals), so the Red Bulls (+550 to win MLS Cup, 10bet) are very capable of getting back in this thing, but will need a stellar performance from 31-year-old GK Robles and guys like Bradley Wright-Phillips, Sam, Grella, Abang, Martins and Winger Shaun Wright-Phillips to come through with the scoring when it matters most. Expect a quick pace in the 1st Half with RBNY so desperate but at Home and capable of scoring 3+ goals if it can get off to that good start.

 

Series Trends and (Hopefully) Logical Conclusions
The New York Red Bulls took the season series, with RBNY winning 2-1 in Week 1 here at Home in Harrison, NJ; the Crew winning 2-1 in Week 5 at Home; and then the Red Bulls winning by that familiar 2-1 score in Week 8 in Columbus to take the Regular Season series, 2-1. But Sunday’s 2-0 Leg 1 result in Columbus to the Crew when the games and results really matter is the story so far. Reality is reality. Lifetime in this competitive series between two of the Eastern Conference’s best clubs, RBNY is 14-5-12 against the Crew in MLS play (49 GF-40 GA) while Columbus is 16-5-14 (45 GF-44 GA) in Ohio against RBNY in league play. Up until Sunday’s Final Scoreline, the L6 games in this series (in MLS play) had seen both teams score (BTTS) while 5 of the L6 have seen the game go Over the posted Total, averaging 3.33 gpg in those 6 and 3.14 gpg in the L7 including Sunday’s 2-0 result. RBNY will push the pace and that’s good for the Over, especially with BWP & Company. And and with studs Kamara and Findlay for Columbus, that’s also good for the Over—a strongly recommended play here nearl—while the Both Teams To Score Prop also seems a very logical soccer pick in this situation which could see a Crew Road Goal possibly be the determining factor and tie-breaker in a 3-1 RBNY scoreline (Exact Score: RBNY 3-1, 11/1, Bet365). It will probably be a little closer than that.

Predicted Final Score: New York Red Bulls 3 Columbus Crew 2
MLS Cup Playoffs Free Picks: Over 2½ -142, Both Teams To Score ‘Yes’ -137 at BetVictor