Following a 10 day break from MLS play, the Crew returns to action for a road test against the New York Red Bulls on Saturday night (7:00PM ET/ FOX Sports Ohio). The Black & Gold will draw off past road successes this season in San Jose, Seattle, and Kansas City heading into the pivotal Eastern Conference matchup as the team gears up for its final seven matches of the regular season.
"It doesn't matter where we play, we're going to go out with the mentality to win," defender Josh Williams said. "We all know New York is one of the best teams in the league. I think they have the best style of play. They always play well. They always keep possession, but we're going in there with the mindset of getting three points and nothing less."
"We're a confident group. We know we can get results on the road, and that's what we need to do," added goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum. "This is the first step in the last seven games of the season where we can make a good push to get into the playoffs. To be successful, you need to beat teams like [New York] and get results on the road."
The Crew's 4-1 home loss to the Red Bulls is a distant memory as both teams have many new faces in their lineups since that meeting early in the season. Just as the Black & Gold have added firepower in the attack with Jairo Arrieta and Federico Higuaín, New York has become even more dangerous offensively with the acquisitions of Tim Cahill and Sébastien Le Toux.
Behind Cahill, Le Toux, Kenny Cooper, and superstar Thierry Henry, it's Dax McCarty pulling the strings in the Red Bull midfield.
"[McCarty] is the catalyst of their team," Williams explained. "He's really good at getting the ball wide and springing it from side to side. I think if we can stop him, it will definitely give us a good chance to win. I think he's a key player we need to look out for."
While McCarty has been key to New York's success this season, Gruenebaum says the Crew cannot key in on any one Red Bulls player Saturday night.
"Dax is a great motor for [New York]," the Crew 'keeper said of his opponent. "He's such a versatile player. There needs to be a lot of communication. It's not a key of stopping this guy or that guy, but it's keeping our line and keeping our line of confrontation."
"Communication: that is the only way we're going to be successful against New York. We're not necessarily keyed in on one guy because as a team, they've done extremely well. It's on us to communicate and not make mental mistakes."