Harrison, NJ (SportsNetwork.com) - There will be plenty on the line when the Columbus Crew head to Red Bull Arena to face Red Bull New York on Sunday.
The two sides enter the weekend separated by just one point as New York occupies fourth place in the Eastern Conference with 47 points, slightly ahead on the Crew on 46 points.
The Red Bulls already have a playoff berth secured, but the Crew could also lock down a postseason spot by kickoff should Toronto FC fail to get a win over the Montreal Impact earlier on Saturday.
Should Toronto take maximum points from its final two matches, Columbus would need just one point to clinch a spot in the postseason. But the Crew will be eager to collect a win at Red Bull Arena in a bid to avoid heading on the road as the No. 5 seed in the postseason play-in game.
"There are certainly going to be playoff implications to this game," Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter told the club's official website Depending on the result, one team could be playing at home in that knockout round. This is an important game for us."
New York also has plenty at stake as the Red Bulls still have the potential to avoid the play-in game altogether.
Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke has had to shuffle the squad all season to compensate for CONCACAF Champions League games thrown into the mix, but he said he will not be resting aging stars like Thierry Henry and Jamison Olave from here on out.
"There's no more balancing, there's no more balancing," Petke told the club's official website. "The only thing that I would say obviously is if there's somebody who is not 100 percent or somebody who for whatever (reason) their fitness is (lacking) ... But there's no more of a balance thing left because we made the playoffs and if we win both games we could climb a bit or, at the very least, stay out of fifth place.
"We need to be sharp, we need to be firing on all cylinders going into these playoffs."
Bradley Wright-Phillips is two tallies shy of the all-time MLS single-season scoring record of 27 goals, a sum he hopes to close in on over the club's final two matches.
Henry, meanwhile, has gone from scorer to provider in what may be his final season as a professional player. Though the Frenchman has not confirmed the decision, Sunday is looking likely to be his final MLS regular season home match.
Columbus has identified Henry Wright-Phillips as the two main threats in the Red Bulls lineup, and the visitors will be out to contain the deadly duo.
"Our gameplan is going to be the same - just play our game and never get frustrated," Tony Tchani told the Crew's official website. "Especially against two big guys like Thierry Henry and Wright-Phillips. I feel like we have to focus on those guys. If we can shut down those two guys, we're in good shape."