RBNY Fan: Columbus Crew Vs. NY Red Bulls Preview, Prediction

It really is true what they say: Winning fixes everything. Just a couple of weeks ago, the New York Red Bulls were again slated to be nothing but an over-hyped and overpaid disappointment, one with an attack unable to produce anything of quality in the attacking third, and a team with far too many defensive holes. Now, coming off of consecutive wins, the Red Bulls are the league's top-scoring side, one capable of lighting up the scoreboard against any opponent. The first full weekend of April could prove to be a reality check of sorts for supporters and club alike.

3 thoughts heading into Columbus vs. NY Red Bulls: Uh-oh

The Red Bulls got some bad news on Friday afternoon. Teemu Tainio, one of New York's most consistent players during the 2011 Major League Soccer season, as well as one of the key men in the team's rally against the Montreal Impact last weekend, will miss at least a month of action due to ligament damage in his knee. Defender Wilman Conde will also be out of the lineup come Saturday afternoon. The team's back line has been, to put it nicely, not good enough without Conde as a stabilizing force. Conde also picked up an assist in New York's victory over the Colorado Rapids. They may not be Thierry Henry and Kenny Cooper, but Tainio and Conde are two of the most important players in the Red Bulls team. Not having them will prove to be the first significant test for head coach Hans Backe and the depth of his squad this season.

3 thoughts heading into Columbus vs. NY Red Bulls: Prove it

A goal differential of +6 in home games against an undermanned Colorado side and expansion Montreal doesn't have me leaping for joy. I've also been largely unimpressed with Columbus, who looked absolutely dreadful in the 2-0 defeat at Colorado, and have only picked up wins against Montreal and beat-up Toronto FC. The truth is we have yet to see the best from either side, and both will have plenty to prove on Easter Saturday. New York have yet to appear like any type of real contenders when playing away from Red Bull Arena, and that's not only because Henry and Cooper weren't paired up top in the team's starting lineups in those road contests.

3 thoughts heading into Columbus vs. NY Red Bulls: Prediction

In comparing the two teams, I'd have to say that the Red Bulls have been better than the Crew since the weekend of March 24. That really only matters so much, though. Columbus are, in my mind, the stronger side as the two teams head into the holiday weekend. Tainio and Conde both being absent gives other certain players multiple opportunities to commit miscues that mirror those we saw during those two road losses. Henry and Cooper have proven they can create goals regardless of the teammates playing with them. What they cannot do, however, is play at all ends of the field. At my most optimistic, I see a 2-2 draw, a point that would be well-earned for the visiting Red Bulls.

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Zac Wassink is a member of the Yahoo! Contributor Network.
Updated Friday, Apr 6, 2012