The Columbus Crew is looking to find its form in the 2021 Major League Soccer season after balancing CONCACAF Champions League and congested match schedule in league play to start the year. New York City FC is one of the in-form teams in MLS with at least a point in the last four games.
These two teams will meet on Saturday evening at Red Bull Arena — the New York Yankees are busy hosting an opponent at NYCFC’s typical home field. For the Crew, it will be a chance to get the team’s first road victory in over and year and also help re-establish itself as an early-season Eastern Conference contender yet again. For the Pigeons, a win against last year’s MLS Cup champions, even if they are not in the best form, will be a feather in the cap for a side that is looking to win its first title.
To get a better outlook on the Black & Gold’s sixth MLS opponent of the year, we reached out to our sister site, Hudson River Blue, and manager Chrisitan Smith.
Questions for Hudson River Blue
Massive Report: It’s been a hot start to the season for New York City. What has been the key to kicking off 2021 on a good note?
Hudson River Blue: The team seems to be more cohesive. Last season, there were times where they seemed lost under Ronny Deila’s leadership. But this season has seen them have a more consistent philosophy. It also helps that Jesus Medina is finally having a breakout season and that Taty Castellanos is playing well in the absence of Héber and the arrival of some reinforcements.
MR: NYCFC has scored 10 goals this year eight of which have come from two players. Is this an indicator of how City plays, the ability of Valentín Castellanos and Jesús Medina or something else?
HRB: I think it’s the two developing at the same pace and coming into their peak at the same time. They’re also the only ones in our attack currently that have any proven track record of scoring goals and right now, our offense is running completely through them.
MR: Is there a player on the New York City roster that Crew fans may not know heading into the game but should?
HRB: Andre Jasson, our newest Homegrown signing. He’s primarily a winger and despite only being 19, he has a confidence and a tenacity you really can’t teach. He’s still pretty raw, but expect big things from him. He’s also due for his first professional goal so be on the lookout!
MR: Typically a game at NYCFC means playing at Yankee Stadium. This game, due to the Yankees’ schedule, is at Red Bull Arena. How do you see that changing this game for the home side and how difficult is it to be playing in multiple “home” venues?
HRB: It’s obviously annoying. And embarrassing. It’s been 6 years, and still no stadium in sight. And, I can’t lie, it makes supporting the team from time to time [tough]. But my love for the club is way too deep at this point to leave and I think it’s the same for everyone. And, truth be told, we weren’t bad at Red Bull Arena last season. With that in mind, I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily bad for NYCFC from a playing standpoint. It’s obviously not the fortress that we’ve turned Yankee Stadium into. But it’ll do.