soccer | mls

New York Red Bulls vs. Columbus Crew SC Pick & Prediction NOV 21TH 2020

FinishedMapfre Stadium Columbus

New York Red Bulls
Columbus Crew SC

2.5o -139
2.5o -137 | 2.5o -135 | 2.5o -138 | 2.5o -136 | 2.5o -139

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The Columbus Crew finished third in MLS' Eastern Conference on the strength of a formidable record at Mapfre Stadium.

On Saturday, the Crew will see if home-field advantage pays off when they host No. 6 seed New York Red Bulls in a Round One single-elimination match in the MLS playoffs.

"We're trying to leave a legacy this year, so we have the first game at home and it's important that we take care of business as soon as the whistle blows," Crew forward Gyasi Zardes said.

The Crew was 9-1-0 in games at Mapfre Stadium this season, tying the Philadelphia Union (9-0-0) for the most wins in a home stadium. In the first year of the single-elimination bracket format used last season, the home team won nine of 13 games.

However, the Crew announced Thursday that because of rising COVID-19 cases in the community that attendance will be limited to "an extremely small number of family members and guests of the team (players, staff)" instead of the 1,500 fans allowed at the previous seven home games.

Columbus, 2-1-0 in the previous three games, will try to stop the Red Bulls' late 3-1-3 surge in the past seven games under interim coach Bradley Carnell, who replaced Chris Armas on Sept. 5.

Carnell was put in charge because Gerhard Struber, announced as the permanent coach on Oct. 6, was unable to join the Red Bulls until last week. The former coach of Barnsley in the English Championship makes his debut in the most important match of the season.

Struber had to wait weeks for a work visa to come to the United States, and then had to go through a government-mandated quarantine period because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I took over a team in a very good mood and a good energy," Struber said. "I know my first 11. I have a good impression of the team. I have a good feeling. In this game we need not only the first 11, but we need every player in the squad."

--Field Level Media

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New York Red Bulls vs. Columbus Crew SC

Gyasi Zardes and Lucas Zelarayan scored, and the Columbus Crew defeated the New York Red Bulls 2-0 on Thursday to advance to the knockout stage of the MLS is Back Tournament at the ESPN Wide World of Sports near Orlando, Fla.

The Red Bulls (2-1-1, 7 points in the regular season) had no shots on goal in seven total attempts.

Gyasi Zardes gave Columbus (3-0-1, 10 points) the lead in the 22nd minute, and Lucas Zelarayan made it 2-0 in the 47th.

The Crew lead Group E with a 2-0-0 record (6 points). The Red Bulls and Cincinnati are 1-1-0 (3 points). Atlanta United has lost both games. The top two teams from the six groups and the next highest third-place finishers qualify for the knockout stage.

Group E play will be completed when the Crew play Atlanta United on Tuesday and the Red Bulls meet Cincinnati on Wednesday.

Crew goalkeeper Eloy Room was injured in the 88th minute, but the Columbus had used all five substitutes. He stayed in the game, including 11 minutes of stoppage time.

Zardes became the 36th player in MLS history with 70 goals. He also joined Brian McBride as the only Crew players to score in the first four games of the season.

Pedro Santos took a throw-in from Chris Cadden and dribbled through a gap to find Zardes in stride behind the back line for a first-touch, left-footed strike.

The Crew had 61.8 percent of the possession in the first half but failed to extend the lead.

Zardes had a break and gifted an open net for Derrick Etienne Jr., but the former Red Bulls defender badly struck the ball wide in the 30th. Ten minutes later, Red Bulls goalkeeper David Jensen made a lunging left-handed save of Santos, pushing the ball just enough to send it off the post and out.

Etienne made amends two minutes into the second half when stripped Amro Tarek at midfield and sped down the left flank. Etienne made a cutback pass to Zelarayan at the top of the circle, and the Argentine midfielder scored from 22 yards for his third goal of the season to make it 2-0.

Youness Mokhtar nearly made it 3-0 with a highlight-reel effort in the 76th minute, dribbling at the top of the box to find space and chipping a shot that cleared Jensen but was denied by the crossbar.

--Field Level Media