The Red Bulls hit the road to take on the Columbus Crew in a battle of top-three sides in the Eastern Conference.With 10 points from eight games this season the New York Red Bulls are undoubtedly off to a good start in 2014, but the team will face a stern test this weekend from a Columbus Crew side that has collected 11 points from six matches and lost just once so far.
Key to Columbus' success has been the sparkling form of Federico Higuain, whose four goals only tell part of the story of his contribution to the team. The forward also has two assists, and his ability to make something out of nothing has been crucial for a Columbus side that at times lacks other inspiration.
New York, with several stars of its own, has had a bit of a shock star in the form of Bradley Wright-Phillips, who notched a hat trick on Wednesday night and is forming a strong strike partnership with Thierry Henry. The two have seven goals between them and have their team sitting comfortably third in the East after picking up a win over the Houston Dynamo midweek.
"It was obviously a great result," New York coach Mike Petke said to the team's website after the Houston win. "Some of the best soccer we’ve played, for sure, this year for large chunks of the time. But it’s like Jekyll and Hyde sometimes, you know. I mean we’re…How does this come out all of a sudden?"
Another strong showing would likely be enough to pick up points against a Columbus team that has struggled of late. Since a late winner against the Seattle Sounders in late March, the Crew have picked up just two points from three games, with two of those matches coming on home soil.