The Columbus Crew (1-2-2, 5 pts.) travel to the East Coast to face New York City FC (2-1-2, 8 pts.) on Saturday night in what will be the first of three regular-season meetings between the two clubs.
In this weekend's edition, Columbus will look to reverse the predominant home-team advantage each side holds in this series, as the home team has won each of the last four meetings.
Notably, the Pigeons have won five of the last six regular-season meetings in New York, though technically Saturday's match will take place at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J., due to scheduling complexities brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
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As we head into this weekend's match, the Crew is coming off a 1-0 loss at the New England Revolution, while New York City drew Toronto FC 1-1 at Yankee Stadium last Saturday, ending a three-match home winning streak for the Pigeons.
Columbus currently stands in 11th place in the Eastern Conference, still just three points behind third-place NYCFC in a crowded standings table.
For Columbus, Saturday's match will be the Club's first on "full rest" following a six-match, 19-day stretch, as the Club seeks its first road win of the regular season.
Zooming out even further, the Black & Gold opened the 2021 calendar year with nine games in 38 days, including four matches in Concacaf Champions League play.
Set-piece defending will continue to be a key focus, given New York City's seven set-piece goals this year already, with five coming against FC Cincinnati. Valentin Castellanos and Jesus Medina have each scored four goals for New York and five different players have recorded an assist.
Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET on Bally Sports Ohio and 97.1 FM.