5 Reasons 110418
Ben Solomon

5 REASONS TO WATCH, pres. by Franklin Group: Columbus Crew SC vs. New York Red Bulls

The New York Red Bulls travel to Columbus Crew SC on Sunday, November 4 at 3 p.m. for Leg 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at Mapfre Stadium.

Here are 5 Reasons to Watch, presented by Franklin Group...

East Dominance 

The Red Bulls clinched their third-ever Supporters’ Shield, ending the season with the most number of wins (22) and points (71) in league history. It also made them the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, giving them home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

New York has won three of its Supporters’ Shields within the past six seasons (2013, 2015, 2018).

Road Success

New York has won eight of its 17 road games this season, including their last two to end the regular season. That tied a franchise-record in road wins.

That number also tied them with two other teams (Sporting Kansas City and Seattle) for the second-highest in the league, trailing Atlanta United, who had 10.

Premier Defense

The Red Bulls ended the season with the league’s best defense, conceding just 33 goals over a 34-game regular season. 

New York also led the league during the regular season in shutouts, posting 15. Goalkeeper Luis Robles set a new career-high in shutouts with 14, and Ryan Meara had a shutout on May 26 against Philadelphia.

Duel of Elite Goal Scorers

Sunday’s match features two of the top five goal scorers during the 2018 MLS Regular Season. New York striker Bradley Wright-Phillips finished third in goals with 20, which was the third time in his career that he scored more than 20 goals in a season (2014 & 2016).

Columbus forward Gyasi Zardes finished tied for fourth with 19 goals. This season marked the second time in Zardes’ career that he scored 10 or more goals (2014). 

Playoff History

This will mark the fourth time in which the Red Bulls face the Columbus Crew in the playoffs, and third time in a two-legged series. In 1998, Columbus topped New York 6-4 on aggregate, and 2-1 on aggregate in 2015.

The two teams also met in the 2008 MLS Cup Final, where Columbus won 3-1.