COLUMBUS, Ohio – The West has not made for the best of times for the Crew.
When they go to the Home Depot Center on Saturday to take on the LA Galaxy, it will be Columbus' last chance to win a regular-season away game against a Western Conference opponent.
While the Crew (13-5-5) have won all four road matches against their Eastern counterparts, they sport an ugly 0-3-4 record outside the conference.
“I am not worried about that,” Crew coach Robert Warzycha said. “I am only looking at the next game at LA, not some record of the past.”
The Crew have a 4-1-1 home mark against the West with games against Seattle and San Jose remaining, but have found ways to squander points on the road. Here's a brief rundown:
April 10 at FC Dallas: With a 2-1 win seemingly secured, a bad clearance by the Crew led to a free kick that allowed Eric Avila to tie the game in the third minute of stoppage time. The Crew vociferously argued for a handball call that would have prevented the goal but which never came, as well as for the quick restart that led to the equalizer.
June 2 at San Jose: A late 2-1 lead was lost again when the Earthquakes’ Chris Wondolowski scored the equalizer via a free kick in the 79th minute.
June 5 at Colorado: In the last match before the World Cup break, Drew Moor’s header off a free kick in the 85th minute gave the 10-man Rapids a 1-0 victory.
“We had points in the bag at San Jose and we let it slip out of our hands,” forward Jason Garey said. “Dallas was a funky call that could have gone our way. We could have been 2-3-2 or better, if you include the Colorado game.
“I don’t think it’s anything we’re too worried about,” he added. “Sometimes that’s the way it goes.”
There have been some good results with a 0-0 scoreless tie at Houston and a 1-1 draw against Seattle, but those have been offset by recent setbacks at Chivas USA (3-1) and Real Salt Lake (2-0).
“You’ll have those over 30 games,” Garey said.
The Crew can’t afford anymore clunkers with the defense of the Supporters’ Shield and the Eastern Conference lead still in doubt. Saturday’s match is for the overall points lead.
Any hope for glory this year will likely run through the West. The Crew go to Seattle on Oct. 5 for the US Open Cup final and it’s possible they will face a Western Conference opponent in the first round of the playoffs.