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MLS EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS: A Viewer's Guide to New York Red Bulls vs. Columbus Crew

Crew SC shut out the top-seeded Red Bulls last weekend in Ohio. The back end of the tie finds Jesse Marsch's team returning to Harrison with their backs against the wall.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

For the New York Red Bulls, Friday wasn't the only day that's black.

They don't have an away goal entering the second leg of the Eastern Conference Finals. Every day is black.

New York Red Bulls vs. Columbus Crew SC
MLS Eastern Conference Finals, Leg #2
7:30 p.m. ET, Red Bull Arena, Harrison, New Jersey

Watch on FOX Sports 1 & FOX Deportes
Stream on FOX Sports GO & MLS Live

ON AGGREGATE: Crew SC leads 2-0 after dishing out some stoic midwestern justice last weekend at the MAPFRE.

VEGAS SAYS: On the moneyline, Red Bulls -150, Crew +355, draw +305.

WHY NEW JERSEY WINS: Unlike what we had grown accustomed to seeing from the Metros, MLS Coach of the Year Jesse Marsch has kept this team at an impressively even keel. The Red Bulls never let themselves get too high or too low, and sport a rare positive goal differential on the road. If Bradley Wright-Phillips & co. can bag one early, it will feel like a brand-new ballgame indeed.

WHY COLUMBUS WINS: Since the Red Bulls couldn't manage a single away goal in the first leg, they would have to win by three to advance if the Crew score even once. Columbus has never had a goals problem, and their occasional propensity for blowing leads does nothing to dull their confidence with such a healthy cushion. Look for Cedric Mabwati to post another super-sub performance-- his energy in relief of Ethan Finlay threw the Crew into high gear last week in Ohio.

PHUN PHACT : New Jersey entered last weekend's first leg having not conceded a playoff goal-- they shut out D.C. United in both Conference Semifinal tilts. That changed ten seconds from the opening whistle in Columbus, as U.S.-born Iraq international Justin Meram achieved a shock opener.

HRB'S PREDICTION: Red Bulls 3, Crew 1. Felipe Martins' left foot and Matt Miazga's head put the home team up early, but the visitors cut one back in the second half thanks to Pipa Higuain. Kemar Lawrence scores off a deflection late, but Columbus wins the Eastern Conference and advances to another MLS Cup Final on aggregate, 3-3, thanks to the away-goal tiebreaker.