What to Watch For When the Red Bulls Face the Columbus Crew (Saturday, 7:30 PM, MSG)

A collection of storylines ahead of Saturday's clash against Columbus

Let's take a quick look at a few storylines ahead of Saturday's match against the Columbus Crew. Watch live on MSG starting at 7:00 PM, or join us for our Outdoor Viewing Party at Brooklyn Bridge’s Harbor View Lawn at Pier 1 (underneath the bridge). RSVP on our Facebook page!

Recent Success vs. Columbus

New York comes into Saturday’s match against the Crew having posted a 3-0-3 record in their last six matches against Columbus, last facing a loss on July 17, 2010. In their most recent, Jamison Olave and Thierry Henry each found the back of the net as the Red Bulls took one point in a 2-2 draw during the May 26 meeting. Let’s also not forget, even though it was last season, Henry’s amazing “Olimpico,” which came in the 93rd minute of the Red Bulls' 3-1 victory over the Crew on September 15th 2012.

First Place in the Standings

New York heads into Saturday’s match with a hold on first place in the Eastern Conference after defeating Sporting KC 3-2 at Sporting Park. Over the past six games, the Red Bulls have posted a 4-1-1 record and remain unbeaten in their last four matches. This streak has propelled New York from fourth to first in the East following huge wins over two top sides, RSL and SKC. A win against Columbus will only further help the Red Bulls maintain that spot atop the rest of the conference.

Will Injuries Play a Factor?

Injuries are part of the game, but so too is the ability to overcome them as a team. Without Tim Cahill in the lineup vs. Sporting KC, the Red Bulls still pulled out a big win that helped the club leapfrom SKC and slide into first place. Unfortunately the win also came with two more players landing on the injury table, as Lloyd Sam and Kosuke Kimura each were forced to leave the match. Sam, who suffered a knock on the leg, is on a day-to-day basis with the medical staff and remains a question mark for this weekend’s tilt. Kimura, on the other hand, is a definite no-go against the Crew after suffering a concussion and perforated right ear drum against SKC. Depth will once again be put to the test against the Crew, and it will be up to the team as a whole to respond.

Everyone Contributing Offensively

The offense will look to carry momentum into Saturday’s match following two stellar back-to-back matchups where New York saw seven goals over two games from five different players. With Tim Cahill still recovering from a knee injury (torn PCL, likely timetable for return at 2-3 weeks), it will be imperative for the team to find offensive contributions from a variety of players. Lloyd Sam, fresh off a Player of the Week nod, provided a spark off the bench for the team while adding a goal and an assist to his 2013 totals. A balanced offensive attack will be key if the Red Bulls want to continue to benefit from this scoring success.