Regardless of the outcome when the Crew takes the field against the New England Revolution in its 2013 season finale on Sunday (4:00 p.m. ET / FOX Sports Ohio), the Black & Gold will finish in eighth place in the MLS Eastern Conference. While the MLS Cup Playoffs are far out of reach, the Crew will fight for three points to finish its campaign for the fans that stood by the Black & Gold through the highs and lows of the eight-month season.
"There is something at stake, we owe it to the fans," forward Dominic Oduro said. "It's the last game of the season. We tried, but we couldn't get to where we want to be. We owe it to them. This is for the fans. We have to win for them to show our love for them."
Added veteran Chad Marshall: "It's always important to win at home. Obviously the fans have supported us all year long and we'd like to go out with three points and give them a good show."
The match will mark the second time in eight days the Crew has faced the Revolution. The Black & Gold fell to the Revs, 3-2, on October 19 at Gillette Stadium. Playing at home this time around, Oduro expects a different outcome.
"They always say you're only as good as your last game," the Ghanaian explained. "From the last few games we've played, we've shown how solid we are. It could be from the change in the coaching point of view, but at the end of the day, we're strong.
"We've shown how this team can fight and that's exactly what we're going to do. We have to win this game for the fans."
There will also be personal pride on the line for many players on Sunday. As with every offseason in recent MLS history, the Crew will likely face a fair amount of roster turnover in the winter months. For some, Sunday may be a final opportunity to secure a spot on the roster in 2014.
"Individually, we're all playing for our jobs," said Oduro, who joined the Crew in February, "Some guys will be back, some won't. That's going to happen, regardless. It's inevitable. Our jobs are on the line.
"You have to make a statement. Why not make it in the last game?"