The new MLS away goals rule means that Columbus are staring elimination in the face, after such a poor defensive display at home last time out.
The most likely result they can hope for is a 3-0 away win and that would see them through, but New England have won their last six home games and are expected to have huge support for this one.
New England’s home record: Played 17 – Won 11 – Drawn 2 – Lost 4
With the New England Patriots on a bye-week in the NFL, Gillette Stadium can focus solely on soccer, and that will only help the Revs as around 30,000 fans could be packed into the stadium, after New England Revolution president Brian Bilello revealed that the tarps would be rolled back to fit more supporters in.
Columbus were the last team to win in New England, and they must take some confidence from that to have any chance, though it looks as though the game is beyond them.
Columbus’ away record: Played 17 – Won 5 – Drawn 6 – Lost 6
The Revs dominated the game last week, and star man Lee Nguyen was allowed far too much space in midfield – a problem that the Crew will find difficult to fix as they will need to concentrate on attacking from the first minute.
New England scored their first two goals from set-pieces last week, and having scored at least one in their last nine home games, they will expect to net against the Crew in this one.
Charlie Davies got two on Saturday, and he will hope to be dancing come the end of Sunday’s game too as the Revs will expect to book their place in the Eastern Conference final without too much trouble.
Columbus will believe they can get the 3-0 win they need to see them through as they have scored at least three on seven occasions this year, but they will need to look like a completely different side to the one that lost a week ago.
This should be a thriller nonetheless as Columbus have to attack from the off, while New England will look to catch them on the break.
Key player: Federico Higuain – The Argentinian’s late ‘panenka’ penalty last week kept Columbus in the tie and he will need to put in an inspired performance for the Crew to have a chance.
Key stat: Goals! Columbus has scored at least two in their last four games while New England have netted two or more in five of their last six.
New England’s last five: W/D/W/W/W
Columbus’ last five: L/W/W/W/L
Prediction: New England Revolution 3-2 Columbus Crew