After back-to-back road trips to Toronto and Houston, the Crew returns to Columbus to host the New York Red Bulls (7:30 p.m. ET / FOX Sports Ohio / TICKETS) on Saturday night at Crew Stadium. Now 10 points out of playoff contention, the Black & Gold aim to get back into the postseason conversation with the promise of a two-match homestand starting on Saturday.
Currently finding itself in a three-match losing streak, the Crew needs nothing less than six points from matches on Saturday against the Red Bulls and next week against Toronto FC.
"The Eastern Conference is in such a way that if you win two games and get six points, then we're probably looking at a six-point gap and we're easily back in it with a couple of games," forward/midfielder Dominic Oduro said. "If we can then win a couple of games on the road, we can maybe start looking at playoffs again."
Oduro continued: "It's been frustrating. We've had a couple games that we should have put away, but it didn't go our way. As long as you've got games to play, you've always got hope. We know we've got to start with this game. As hard as it may be, we've got to get some points."
Despite the struggle, the Black & Gold remain confident they can fulfill their preseason goal of being one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference.
"I think if we all get on the same page, we can win these games at home," midfielder Bernardo Anor said. "We can do it, it's all about having the right attitude and the right mentality coming into the game - knowing and believing in ourselves that we can win.
"It's a little bit frustrating when you lose so many games. I think it's one of the toughest things in soccer to get over all of that and start over again. Our mentality is that it's a new game, the start of the season. Let's start from zero."
On the other side of the coin, New York has won four of its last six matches. The Red Bulls moved into first place in the Eastern Conference with an impressive 3-2 victory on the road at Sporting Kansas City last week.
Despite New York's recent form, the Crew's focus is inward in preparation for Saturday's match.
"We don't need to worry too much about who we're playing against," Anor said. "We have to leave things in the past. Whoever comes here, we need to high pressure them and go after them."
Added Oduro: "Every game is different. It doesn't matter how well [New York] has played.
"We shouldn't care about New York. We have to worry about keeping our team shape and execution -- that's it."