MLS Preview from The Sports Network (ET)
04/25/2014 4:35 PM
04/25/2014 4:41 PM
New York (2-2-4) at Columbus (3-1-2), 7:30 p.m.
Columbus, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - What a difference a week makes.
Red Bull New York was winless through its first six games of the new campaign, but back-to-back victories in consecutive midweek games have seen the team regain the form that won them the Supporters' Shield a season ago.
The Red Bulls will go for their third straight win on Saturday when they head to Crew Stadium to face a Columbus Crew team that is winless in their last three league contests.
New York appears to be firing on all cylinders as the club followed up its 2-1 defeat of the Philadelphia Union with a 4-0 thrashing of the Houston Dynamo on Wednesday.
"It was obviously a great result," head coach Mike Petke said after the match. "Some of the best soccer we've played, for sure, this year for large chunks of the time. But it's like Jekyll and Hyde sometimes, you know. ... How does this come out all of a sudden?
"But overall I'm very satisfied with the way the team played. There's obviously always things to improve, like I say every game, but our ball movement was very good tonight, our positioning, our ability to create that space in the midfield. It was some good stuff."
Bradley Wright-Phillips netted three goals in New York's defeat of Houston, becoming the first English player to score a hat trick in MLS play while giving the Red Bulls their first three-goal performance from an individual player since Thierry Henry managed to accomplish the feat on March 31, 2012.
"I think today's got to be Bradley's day," Henry said after the game. "I'm happy for him. I think people were having a go at him for not scoring. It's never an easy task, you know, when you have to go and perform and people are wondering if you can do it or not. I'm happy for him because I know you guys want him to score more goals and that's the way it is when you're a striker, but he does a lot of stuff that people don't actually notice.
"You know, he works hard and he can hold the ball well and he�s available whenever you're looking for him to show up on the ball so you have to give him credit...I hope he enjoyed it, and I hope he can build on what he has done today to help us to play better throughout the whole year."
Columbus, meanwhile, a struggled a bit in recent weeks after enjoying a blinding start to life under new head coach Gregg Berhalter.
The Crew won their first three games of the season by a combined score of 7-2, but a home loss to Toronto FC and draws against the San Jose Earthquakes and D.C. United have seen the club relinquish the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
Berhalter has helped instill a culture of competition and camaraderie at Columbus, something that has aided the players in their preparation for each match.
"It's exciting when you're contributing for the team and we're getting results," winger Justin Meram told the club's official website. "With this coaching staff, it's tremendous how they've brought everyone in.
"In years past, if you weren't starting or dressing, you were super upset, but here there's a different outlook. They keep you in it and they keep you motivated, I think that's what's great and why we've been successful from the beginning."
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