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RBNY, Columbus battle for much-needed win

Harrison, NJ (SportsNetwork.com) - Red Bull New York and the Columbus Crew will battle for a much-needed victory on Saturday when the two sides square off at Red Bull Arena.

While both clubs enter the contest on four-game unbeaten streaks, there has only been one win for either side during that stretch.

The Red Bulls have played three of their last four games away from home, drawing at Sporting Kansas City before claiming a 2-0 road victory over the New England Revolution.

New York then returned home to salvage a point against Toronto FC behind a late Bradley Wright-Phillips strike before playing to a 2-2 draw at the Houston Dynamo last time out.

The draw against the Dynamo was a harsh result as the Red Bulls held a narrow advantage heading into the final stages of the match only to surrender the win due to a dubious hand ball decision that resulted in a penalty for the Dynamo.

"I feel that we lost two points tonight," said head coach Mike Petke. "It wasn't a hand ball from what I saw, from what I was told from my player, from what the players surrounding him said. I feel like the ref handed that to them. Aside from that, it was a hard-fought point and we'll take it."

The Red Bulls enter Saturday's clash in good form against Columbus, dropping only one of its last eight meetings with the Crew.

But Columbus will be eager to snap a run of four successive draws, a streak that has dropped the club into a tie with New York in the Eastern Conference table on 20 points apiece.

The Crew are coming off of a 1-1 draw against the Colorado Rapids at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. The visitors were gifted the point when a late blunder from Jared Watts allowed Ethan Finlay to fire home the equalizer in the 76th minute.

"It came against the run of play," Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter said of the tying goal. "We came out good in the second half and had a bunch of chances with a goal called back for offside. I felt really confident in what we were doing in the second half. To respond after they scored was good and especially to dig deep in the altitude and come back in the game was very good."

The Crew were quite satisfied with the point given the obstacles in their way.

"It's a tough place to come and play. If you can get a point on the road it's great," Finlay said. "But I think if you ask the group as a whole it's a little bit frustrating. Quite a few ties in a row now that we've had. I think we had a lot of chances tonight and they didn't quite go our way. If we put some of those early ones away maybe we can win that game, but I think it's a tough place to play and we'll be happy with the point."

Playing at Red Bull Arena has been something of a struggle for the Crew, who have only managed to produce a 1-1-2 record at the venue.

And given that the club's lone win at Red Bull Arena came in the stadium's inaugural season in 2010, the Crew would most likely be satisfied with a fifth successive road point.