Chester, PA (Sports Network) - Red Bull New York needs to hold its two-point advantage over the Columbus Crew over the final two games of major League Soccer's regular season to earn the Eastern Conference championship.
A win at the expansion Philadelphia Union on Saturday would go a long way toward making that happen. A win and a loss or a draw by Columbus in Toronto would clinch the top spot in the Eastern bracket of the upcoming MLS Cup playoffs.
The Red Bulls (14-8-6) are coming off a scoreless draw vs. the defending MLS Cup champions Real Salt Lake, and will be gunning for to put some goals in the net at PPL Park.
Dane Richards is carrying the hot hand for New York, scoring four goals in his previous six games. He missed the RSL match because of international duty, but scored the only goal in Jamaica's friendly win against Trinidad & Tobago.
"Since [designated player Thierry Henry] arrived here, I started scoring," Richards told mlssoccer.com. "Not just me, the team. My teammates have been saying, 'What happened?' Well, nothing happened."
New York coach Hans Backe has been impressed with the speedy winger's play as of late.
"He's flying every time he touches the ball," he told mlssoccer.com. "He's scoring goals. We need his pace."
Philly (7-14-7) is out of playoff contention, but hopes to wrap up its first home schedule in MLS on a winning note.
The Union are without any major injuries, with midfielder Fred, defender Juan Diego Gonzalez, forward Danny Mwanga, and goalkeeper Brad Knighton all expected to be available with various knocks.
New York will be without midfielders Luke Sassano, Brian Nielsen, and Irving Garcia and defender Carey Talley because of injuries. Defender Mike Petke is also questionable.