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Red Bulls-Crew Preview

Jul 16, 2010 - 10:29 PM By BRETT HUSTON STATS Writer

New York (8-5-2) at Columbus (8-3-4), 7:30 p.m. EDT

A surprising loss by the Columbus Crew earlier this week has turned their match against the New York Red Bulls into a battle for first place.

The Red Bulls can climb ahead of the Crew atop the Eastern Conference with three points Saturday night in Columbus, where they haven't won in four years.

Columbus (8-3-4) had a two-point lead over New York (8-5-2) going into Wednesday's matchup with struggling Kansas City, and that cushion seemed likely to grow to five as it hosted a team that hadn't scored in 325 minutes.

It took the Wizards just 14 minutes to score on goalkeeper Will Hesmer, though, and the Crew fell 1-0 despite outshooting Kansas City 15-6. Columbus' scoreless drought reached 225 minutes in just its second home loss.

New York's visit marks the Crew's third match in eight days, and there's certain to be some changes. Coach Robert Warzycha was heavily criticized for using the same lineup Wednesday that tied Houston during a 90-degree day Saturday.

"We're going to have fresher legs in there. Guys are dying to play and guys who played are going to want to make up for (Wednesday)," midfielder Adam Moffat said.

There's about to be a major change in New York's lineup, but former French national team star Thierry Henry - who signed a long-rumored multiyear contract Wednesday - won't debut until Thursday's exhibition against Premier League club Tottenham.

That leaves the Red Bulls with their regular roster to attempt to extend their five-match unbeaten streak, and they'll be eager to bounce back from an empty offensive effort at home last Saturday. New York played to a scoreless draw against D.C., managing just two shots on goal and becoming United's second shutout victim this season.

"We really didn't test the goalkeeper," said striker Juan Pablo Angel, second in the league with nine goals. "I don't (really) remember him making a save. Our passing wasn't good."

The Crew are 4-0-1 at home against New York since July 19, 2006, including a win in their only visit to Red Bull Arena. Eddie Gaven, Andy Iro and Emilio Renteria scored in a 3-1 road victory May 20, helping make up for the absence of suspended striker Guillermo Barros Schelotto.

Schelotto, who leads the Crew with five goals, hasn't scored in his last three matches. He's never scored in six games against the Red Bulls, but he assisted on all three Columbus goals in his team's 3-1 victory over New York in the 2008 MLS Cup final.

Schelotto isn't the only Crew player having trouble finding the back of the net. Neither Gaven nor Renteria, who have five goals between them, have scored in their last five matches.

New York's second-leading scorer, Ibrahim Salou (three goals), is questionable with a foot sprain.






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