Columbus Crew SC returns from a bye week to face New York City FC at MAPFRE Stadium on Saturday night (7:30 PM ET). It marks the second of three meetings between the two sides in 2016 and fifth all-time since NYCFC joined the league last year.
Heading into this matchup, both teams are in unexpected spots in the MLS standings. For the visitors, that’s certainly a good thing. Despite two high profile blowout losses to their Tri-State rival New York Red Bulls, the Citizens currently sit at the top of the Eastern Conference.
In Crew SC’s case, it’s a different story altogether. A year removed from hosting MLS Cup, the Black and Gold languish second from bottom in both the East and overall league table. Having already played 21 games, the club finds itself with just 19 points and seven points out of a playoff spot.
What’s more alarming for Columbus is the recent history of the league. Since MLS went to a 34-game schedule in 2011, the average minimum number of points needed to qualify for the postseason out of the East has been 49.2 points. That means Crew SC would need at least 30 more to feel safe.