The Crew faces its toughest task thus far in the 2012 MLS season in stopping a potent New York Red Bulls' attack when the teams face off at Crew Stadium Saturday afternoon. New York has exploded for nine goals over its last two matches, both home victories against Colorado and Montreal. Nine of NYRB's ten goals this season have come from the attack duo of Kenny Cooper and Thierry Henry.
"Obviously, they have a lot of offensive power, we'll have to keep our eye on it," Crew head coach Robert Warzycha said.
Captain Chad Marshall, the anchor of Columbus' attack, knows just what needs to be done to stop the likes of Cooper and Henry-- cut off the final pass.
"We need to be disciplined, be compact in the back and not let easy balls beat us," Marshall explained. "They like to play long balls over the top to try and find (Cooper and Henry). We've got to hold a good line and stay with the runners."
While Warzycha is well aware of the Red Bulls' recent scoring outburst, he knows Hans Backe's club has its weaknesses.
"(New York) has scored nine goals (in the last two matches), but they've given up seven (this season)," Warzycha said of his opponent this week. "That's a chance for us to go in and pressure them and force them to make mistakes."
Columbus is coming off back-to-back shutout victories against the Montreal Impact at home and Toronto FC on the road. Marshall feels Warzycha and the Crew coaching staff has the right gameplan in place to continue that stretch against the Red Bulls.
"We've got a good gameplan going in," the Captain told TheCrew.com. "We know what they like to do. We plan the whole week to try and stop that."
If recent history speaks any volume, the Crew is unbeaten in four of the last five matches (2-1-2) against the Red Bulls. In the last match between the two clubs, New York was stunned by a stoppage time equalizer from Crew rookie Rich Balchan to come away with a point. It's a trend Warzycha hopes to continue on Saturday afternoon.
"New York is a good team. We try to play the best soccer every time we step onto the field," Warzycha said. "Against New York, we've had some success. It's always a tough game against them, whether it's at home or away from home. It seems like the last few times, we've had somebody make a good play in the end."
The Crew will look to make some of those "good plays in the end" on Saturday.