As an eight year-old playing on a youth league team named after the Minnesota Strikers of the long defunct Major Indoor Soccer League, soccer was a sport played but seldom watched in the United States. Oh, how the times have changed! These days not only do kids play football, er, soccer, but they are well versed in the sport’s many international stars and leagues. That interest extends to Major League Soccer, the professional organization in the United States that has not only survived for two decades but has thrived.
The MLS playoffs have almost reached their pinnacle, and right in the thick of the race for MLS Cup is the Columbus Crew SC. The team is currently battling it out for the Eastern Conference Championship with the New York Red Bulls and is in town (well, New Jersey) for the second and deciding game this evening. They won the first game in Columbus 2–0, and so long as Red Bulls don’t win by more than two goals today, the Crew will be playing for the Cup against the winner of the Western Conference Championship being played by FC Dallas and the Portland Timbers. The last time the Crew won the Cup was in 2008. (Coincidentally, the Red Bulls were the losing squad that year.)
Tonight’s game starts at 7:30, so as of this writing, you still have time to score tickets (there are plenty on StubHub) and get out to the Red Bull Arena. If not, Fox Sports will be showing the match.
Columbus Crew fans probably don’t have high hopes for tonight’s match against the New York Red Bulls. The team has lost its last six games, and its chances of making the playoffs are quickly diminishing. Moreover, the Crew hasn’t defeated the Red Bulls since 2010; in their last six meetings, the Red Bulls have won three times, while the other three games have ended in a tie, including their last match-up on May 26. And who can forget Thierry Henry’s Olimpico against Columbus last year?
Nevertheless, that is no reason for NYC-based Crew devotees not to enjoy the match tonight—however it may go. It looks to be a beautiful evening, and the Red Bulls are hosting a viewing of the game at Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Harbor View Lawn at Pier 1. Things get underway at 7:30pm, but you’ll no doubt want to get there early to grab a seat and some food from concession stands like Calexico Carne Asada and Luke’s Lobster. For more info, check out the event’s Facebook page. If you can’t make it to the park (or Crew Stadium in Columbus), you can watch the game on the MSG network.
Major League Soccer team the Columbus Crew is coming to town tomorrow to take on the New York Red Bulls. The Crew, who won the MLS Cup in 2008, is hoping to redeem themselves after losing to the Red Bulls 4 to 1 in Columbus this past April. While the Crew is currently in last place in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 12-9-6, it is only a few games that separates them from the third place Red Bulls, who are 13-7-7. Both teams’ line-ups have changed slightly since they last met, but the Red Bulls still feature soccer legend Thierry Henry.
Tomorrow’s game begins at 7pm and there are plenty of tickets available through the Red Bulls’ website. Better yet, though, tomorrow you can sit in a section of Crew supporters. The Ohio State Alumni Club of Greater New York has organized an outing to the game. To sit with other Buckeyes, choose section 117 and use the promotional code “Buckeyesoccer” to get the group rate. The group is going to be recognized on the Arena video boards so be sure to represent by wearing black and gold (not scarlet and gray). And speaking of OSU, don’t worry, you will be able to watch the Buckeyes play American football (at noon against the University of California) and still have plenty of time to get to Red Bull Arena.
If you can’t make it out to the arena, the game will be on television on the MSG Network and on 93.1 on your FM dial.