As promised in print, here's a look at how Columbus matches up with New York in tomorrow's MLS Cup. Check back before kickoff tomorrow for more preview content, then look for updates throughout gameday.

The No. 1 seed would seem to be a clear favorite over a measly 8-seed that snuck into the playoffs with a losing record. And indeed, the Crew is favored to hoist the Philip Anschutz Trophy. But this might not be as clear-cut as it looks.

For one thing, New York beat Columbus twice this year. One Red Bull triumph came way back in the second week of the season. The other was in the second-to-last week, when the first-place Crew rested six starters.

Also, both of those games were on New York's home turf, the carpeted concrete of Giants Stadium. The one time the clubs locked horns on a proper pitch, the Crew demolished the Red Bulls 3-1.

OK, so maybe this won't be close after all. Let's break it down position by position.

As promised in print, here's a look at how Columbus matches up with New York in tomorrow's MLS Cup. Check back before kickoff tomorrow for more preview content, then look for updates throughout gameday.

The No. 1 seed would seem to be a clear favorite over a measly 8-seed that snuck into the playoffs with a losing record. And indeed, the Crew is favored to hoist the Philip Anschutz Trophy. But this might not be as clear-cut as it looks.

For one thing, New York beat Columbus twice this year. One Red Bull triumph came way back in the second week of the season. The other was in the second-to-last week, when the first-place Crew rested six starters.

Also, both of those games were on New York’s home turf, the carpeted concrete of Giants Stadium. The one time the clubs locked horns on a proper pitch, the Crew demolished the Red Bulls 3-1.

OK, so maybe this won’t be close after all. Let’s break it down position by position.

Goalkeeping The Crew’s William Hesmer was a finalist for goalkeeper of the year, but Red Bull’s Danny Cepero has been the breakout star of the 2008 playoffs, allowing only one goal in three games. Still, Hesmer has more experience and. Edge: Crew

Defense New York employs a cast of hacks, nobodies and Crew castoffs. Columbus features Defender of the Year Chad Marshall, World Cup veteran Frankie Hejduk and a cast of steady role players. Edge: Crew

Midfield On the flanks, speedy Dane Richards and savvy Dave van den Bergh match up well with the Crew’s Robbie Rogers and Eddie Gaven. In the middle, there’s no way New York can compete with Brian Carroll and Brad Evans. Edge: Crew

Forward Juan Pablo Angel has been a Crew-killer this year, tallying three goals and an assist against Columbus in three matches. Paired with striking partner John Wolyniec, a journeyman backup enjoying a late-career renaissance, New York looks formidable up top. But so do Crew scoring leader Alejandro Moreno and presumptive league MVP Guillermo Barros Schelotto. Edge: Even

Bench New York has a respectable blend of MLS newcomers and veterans on its bench, but Crew reserves like Pat Noonan and Emmanuel Ekpo would be starters anywhere else. Plus Columbus has Steven Lenhart and his knack for late strikes. Edge: Crew Coach This season and last, Juan Carlos Osorio has proved to be a master at eking out MLS playoff wins. But the Crew’s Sigi Schmid has more playoff wins than anybody, including a 2002 MLS Cup victory with the LA Galaxy. Edge: Crew

Prediction: Columbus 3, New York 1.