Game Day 8: Columbus Crew v. New York Red Bulls

Greg Bartram-US PRESSWIRE

The Crew face a Red Bull team that has won two straight.

The Crew hope to continue their offensive outburst from last week. New York will hope to return to prolific goal scoring form. Both sides are facing tougher defenses than last week. D.C. has one of the weakest teams in MLS and the Crew defense is more talented than Toronto's.

Crew on Offense: Against D.C., Higuain was often left single teamed in the middle of the field with a double team slow to close him down. The New York Red Bulls have the perfect guy to keep track of the Argentine, Dax McCarty. It's too bad for the Red Bulls that he's injured. Higuain is a very mobile player and will be going up a central midfield of Tim Cahill and Juninho. Higuain has a chance to shine.

The Crew can also take advantage of how compact Jonny Steele and Eric Alexander play on the wings. Eddie Gaven often gets drawn centrally, but staying wider would allow for more room to roam. Dominic Oduro plays best when he moves up the field. The Red Bulls midfield will give him that chance.

Jairo Arrieta was everywhere last weekend. He'll likely have a much quieter game as he goes up against Jamison Olave and Markus Holgersson. Olave is a very physical defender and will match up well with Arrieta. The Costa Rican will have work to pull Olave into wide positions to give space to the midfield. Arrieta matches up better with Holgersson and might be able to turn his marker and fire off shots in dangerous positions.

Crew on Defense: With a roster that includes Juninho, you would expect the Red Bulls to create more danger off of set pieces, but the offense still is created from the run of play. Even with Steele and Alexander playing the wings, New York is able to create chances from the wide position often enough to be dangerous. Ultimately, the Red Bull attack is multifaceted.

Juninho hasn't connected on any of his thunderbolts, but he's been very influential switching the attack as he spreads the ball around the field. This ultimately creates space for players in dangerous spots in the field. That pinpoint accuracy works for passes too.

Tony Tchani and Danny O'Rourke will have to be working to close down Juninho as quickly as possible, but that's made harder by the fact that Tim Cahill will break forward into dangerous positions, acting as a very capable screen.

Ultimately, the ball gets in front of the goal to the finishers. Thierry Henry may not have the speed he once did, but he knows what to do with a ball at his feet. Fabian Espindola isn't as clinical, few are, but he is aggressive at attacking goal.

Final Walkthrough: The Crew should have enough on offense to see off New York as long as the defense can limit the impact of Espindola and Henry to a couple of chances.

Crew 2-1.

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