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Red Bulls face Columbus in MLS Eastern Conference Finals on Sunday

2015 Records
New York: 18-10-6, 6-7-4 on the road
Columbus: 15-11-8, 9-4-4 at home

2015 Series: NY went 2-1-0, including 1-1-0 at CLB

2015 Postseason Records
New York: 2-0-0; 1-0-0 on the road
Columbus: 1-1-0; 1-0-0 at home

All-Time Playoff Series: NY is 0-3-0 vs. Columbus; 0-1-0 at CLB

HARRISON, N.J. (Via New York Red Bulls) – The New York Red Bulls travel to Columbus this weekend to open the Eastern Conference Championship series of the Audi 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs against Crew SC. Kickoff is set for 5 p.m. on Sunday, November 22, with coverage on ESPN and ESPN Deportes.

The Red Bulls will also provide English and Spanish radio broadcasts through, and the English radio play-by-play will be available nationwide on Sirius XM Channel 85.

The Red Bulls advanced to the Eastern Conference Championship for a second consecutive season by defeating D.C. United, 2-0 on aggregate, in a conference semifinal matchup. New York took both legs by 1-0 score lines, winning the first leg at D.C. on a header from Dax McCarty and getting a late goal from Bradley Wright-Phillips in the second leg to put the series away.

McCarty finished off a set piece from Sacha Kljestan for his second career playoff goal, and first for New York. Wright-Phillips found himself with a tap-in opportunity in stoppage time after Gonzalo Veron stole the ball from a D.C. defender on the wing, cut in and played Wright-Phillips around D.C. ‘keeper Bill Hamid.

Luis Robles, named Allstate MLS Goalkeeper of the Year on Thursday, was only required to make two saves in the series, earning back-to-back shutout victories to become New York’s all-time leader in career postseason wins (4) and shutouts (3).

The Red Bulls faced Crew SC three times this season, including two matchups at Columbus’ MAPFRE Stadium. New York claimed an early season victory, 2-1, behind a PK goal from Bradley Wright-Phillips and a superb chip from Mike Grella.

New York then fell, 2-1, in a second trip to Columbus on July 4. Anatole Abang got New York on the board early, but Ethan Finlay struck twice to give Columbus a win. The Red Bulls took a third 2-1 decision at Red Bull Arena in October on goals from Lloyd Sam and Bradley Wright-Phillips. Wright-Phillips has four goals in six career games against Columbus.

New York went 6-7-4 on the road in 2015, tied for second-most road wins in MLS. The Red Bulls scored 27 goals on the road this season, the most in MLS.

Columbus advanced to the conference championship round by eliminating the Montreal Impact. Crew SC dropped the first leg at Montreal, 2-1, but returned home and took a 3-1 decision to advance, 4-3 on aggregate, with an extra-time winner from Kei Kamara.

Columbus finished second in the Eastern Conference with a 15-11-8 record, and a 9-4-4 mark at MAPFRE Stadium.

Kamara finished the regular season with 22 goals, tied for the league-high with Sebastian Giovinco, and has two postseason goals in two games. Ethan Finlay led Crew SC with 13 assists in the regular season, and was second behind Kamara with 12 goals. Federico Higuain recorded eight goals and nine assists in the regular season, and has a goal and assist so far in the playoffs.

New York and Columbus have faced off on two separate occasions in the MLS playoffs – a two-game series in 1998, and in the 2008 MLS Cup Final. New York has never beaten Crew SC in the playoffs. In 1998, Columbus took a high-scoring affair at Ohio Stadium by a 5-3 final. The return leg at Giants Stadium was comparatively quiet, with the sides playing to a hard-fought 1-1 draw before Columbus eliminated New York in a shootout.

The teams wouldn’t meet again in the postseason until a decade later, when they squared off in MLS Cup in 2008. Columbus defeated New York, 3-1, at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. John Wolyniec scored for New York in the final to tie the game at one just after the start of the second half, but Columbus overpowered New York with two more goals.

After Sunday, the Red Bulls will host the second leg at Red Bull Arena on Sunday, November 29. Kick time and broadcast information have not been announced for that matchup.

Here are some numbers to know ahead of Sunday’s matchup:

2: These two teams have only met twice in the postseason, neither of which was in the Eastern Conference Championships. In 1998 the Metrostars fell to Columbus in the Eastern Conference Semifinals and in 2008 the Red Bulls fell again, in both teams’ first and only appearances to date in the MLS Cup Final.

3: There were 3 goals in all 3 meetings between these two teams in the regular season, with a 2-1 score line each time (in favor of New York twice, Columbus once). Kei Kamara scored none of those goals.

7: The Red Bulls have not failed to score against Columbus since 7 matches ago, on August 10, 2013. They have also not failed to score in a postseason match since November 8, 2012, and have not failed to score this season – regular and postseason combined – since May 24.

11: The Red Bulls have won 11 games at Mapfre Stadium in the regular and postseason combined, tying 4 and losing 12. Their only postseason matchup there, MLS Cup 2008, was one of those losses.

13: Matt Miazga’s 13 aerials won against Columbus Crew in the regular season are the second-most by any Red Bulls player against any team (after Miazga’s 24 won against D.C. United).

27: The Red Bulls have scored 27 away goals this season, the most of any MLS team. On the other hand, Columbus has conceded 25 goals at home this season, the second-most of any MLS team (behind NYCFC’s 31). It’s likely that the Red Bulls will return home with some away goals in the bank.

33.3: The Red Bulls have advanced past the Eastern Conference Championship 33% of the times they’ve featured (after 1 of the 3 Championship series), whereas Columbus has only advanced 20% of the time (after 1 of 5 series).

50: When the Red Bulls have played the first leg of an Eastern Conference Championship series away, they’ve won that first leg 50% of the time (loss in 2000, win in 2008). Overall, they’ve won 33% of Eastern Conference Championship first legs (loss at home, 2014).

75: All 5 of the Red Bulls midfield post above a 75% passing accuracy against Columbus (Lloyd Sam: 87%; Dax: 86%; Felipe: 81%; Grella: 78%; Kljestan: 78%).

99: Red Bulls #99 Bradley Wright-Phillips, who scored the last-minute winner to close out the semifinal series against D.C. United, has scored in one leg, but never both, of every postseason series he’s played in. That goal has come in the first leg 50% of the time (excluding the one-round knockout game against Sporting KC in 2014), but never when that first leg was away. He’s saving it for you, South Ward.