There is a huge Eastern Conference clash in the first day of the 2019 MLS season. Columbus Crew will play host to the New York Red Bulls on Saturday. Columbus Crew did not make a lot of changes in their roster but they did chance the coach. The Red Bulls did some changes in their roster but they were really good last season.
Date/Time: 3-2-2019, 19:30 EST
Spread: New York Red Bulls +0.25
Total: 2.75 Goals
Columbus Crew did a solid job last season, finishing at the 5th spot of the Eastern Conference (14-11-9). They scored 43 goals and scored 45, with 18 of their 24 matches featuring Over 2.5 Goals. Columbus Crew were excellent at home last season (11-2-4), where they scored 32 goals and conceded 21. There they had 12 of their 17 matches featuring Over 2.5 Goals. Columbus Crew met DC United in the knock-out round and won in the penalty shoot-out on the road. They only lost Ketterer, Grella, Martinez and Jahn. But they brought in Francis, Keita, Barbosa, Williams and Bednik. But their most important change was to bring in coach Caleb Porter to steer the ship.
On the other hand, the New York Red Bulls did great to win the Supporters’ Shield last season. They finished at the top of the Eastern Conference with 71 points (22-7-5). They featured the 2nd best offense with 62 goals and the best defense with just 33 conceded. The Red Bulls had Over 2.5 Goals in 19 of their 34 matches overall, and in 9 of their 17 on the road. They were actually pretty good on the road last season (8-5-4). They met with Columbus Crew in the Conference semi-finals and won on 1-3 aggregate. But the Red Bulls fell in the Conference finals against Atlanta United who went on to win the MLS Cup.
The two teams played for a 1-1 draw in the regular season, before Columbus Crew won by 3-2 in New York. The two teams exchanged clean sheet home wins in the playoffs, with Columbus winning by 0-1 at home before falling by 0-3 on the road.
Columbus Crew have been great as hosts against the Red Bulls in recent years. They are undefeated in the last six (4-0-2) and have lost just once in the last nine matches here. The Red Bulls score goals even in their losses in this venue and this could be a high-scoring match. But I will back the hosts on this one, in the debut of the new coach.
MLS Columbus Crew vs New York Red Bulls Prediction: Columbus Crew -0.25 (-102)