The Columbus Crew had a rare opportunity in Sunday evening's 4-2 win over FC Dallas – they got to play with a two-goal lead.
The advantage didn't always look like it would hold up, as Dallas twice pulled one back to come within a goal of equalizing, but interim head coach Brian Bliss said his team handled the pressure well, taking a big step forward in the Eastern Conference playoff race in the process.
“You train for stuff, and you play a goal up and a goal down and things like that, but to have a two-goal lead is a rare one, especially for our club, lately,” Bliss said. “The guys did well with it near the end of the game. We absorbed a lot of pressure.”
Goals from Federico Higuaín, Jairo Arrieta and Dominic Oduro gave the team a 3-1 advantage before halftime, and Bernardo Anor added the clincher at the four minutes from time. It was a rare chance for multiple Crew players to get on the scoresheet, and the first time Columbus had notched four goals since 2012.
“We keep talking about our ability to run and run for each other. When guys are running and making themselves available, the guy on the ball has multiple options that may lead to a goal scoring chance,” Bliss said. “That's probably contributed to the fact that we've scored more and guys are showing up on the scoresheet more often. It's a byproduct of it.”
Despite the fact that the Crew offense has looked anemic at times in 2013, Oduro, who notched his team-leading and career-high 12th goal of the season, said the team still prides itself on scoring ability, and thinks the club is as strong offensively as ever.
“We take pride in our offense. We have great guys; we have guys who are explosive, me included,” he said. “Everybody's happy right now. Camp is really good.”
The Crew have three matches remaining, and travel to Kansas City next weekend ahead of a home and away set against New England Revolution. Riding the team's hottest streak of the season into the final matches while the rest of the East seems to be crumbling, Bliss seemed cautiously optimistic about the team's postseason dreams.
“The ball's in our court a little bit. We're putting some pressure on the teams ahead of us,” he said. “Our guys feel good about our game, they feel good about each other, they feel good about themselves individually. We've just got to carry this momentum and keep going.”