The New York Red Bulls advanced to the Eastern Conference Championship by defeating Columbus Crew SC, 3-1 on goal aggregate. They will travel to face Atlanta United FC, the No. 2 seed in the conference, in the first leg of a home-and-home series. The winner will advance -- and host -- to MLS Cup.
The Eastern Conference Championship berth will be the fourth appearance for the franchise since it became the Red Bulls in 2006. They reached that round once as the MetroStars, doing so in 2000, falling 3-2 on aggregate to the Chicago Fire.
In 2008, the Red Bulls finished fifth in the Eastern Conference, earning a wild card bid as the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference side of the bracket. They beat Houston 4-1 on aggregate in the semifinals, and then defeated Real Salt Lake 1-0 in the conference championship. Forward Dave van den Bergh scored the lone goal in the match. New York advanced to their lone MLS Cup appearance, when they fell 3-1 to Columbus.
In 2014, New York finished fourth in the East, and then proceeded to knock off the number one seed in the conference, D.C. United, 3-2 on aggregate. They advanced to the Eastern Conference Championship, where they fell 4-3 on aggregate to the New England Revolution.
In 2015, the Red Bulls won their second Supporters’ Shield in franchise history, making them the number one overall seed in the playoffs. They edged D.C United 2-0 on aggregate in the East Semifinals, before falling 2-1 to Columbus in the conference championship. Forward Anatole Abang was the only Red Bull to score in the series.
All-time, the Red Bulls have been outscored 6-5 in conference championship matches, with a record of 2-2-1 in single games and 1-2 in overall series.
The first leg of the 2018 Eastern Conference Championship will take place on Sunday, November 25, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. The game will begin at 5 p.m., with it being broadcasted on ESPN and New York Red Bulls Radio. The second leg will be on Thursday, November 29, at Red Bull Arena, on FS1 and New York Red Bulls Radio.