It can't be overstated: home field advantage will play a crucial role in the Crew's pivotal clash with Sporting Kansas City on Sunday. The Black & Gold are expecting the fans to bring the same intensity that they have brought all season long to create a hostile atmosphere for the Eastern Conference leaders.
"I think [the fans] are going to be very important," Head Coach Robert Warzycha this week. "They've been so good all year for us. Hopefully, they bring the same intensity and support they have all year."
The Crew is 10-3-2 this season and has compiled a 69-10-15 record at Crew Stadium since 2008 to create a fortress in Central Ohio. In the thick of a heated Eastern Conference playoff race, the Black & Gold need the fan support more than ever before.
"We're hoping our fans will be the 12th man for us," midfielder Eddie Gaven said. "They've been there all year for us and now is the time of the year when we need them to come out and be loud."
Columbus sits in sixth place in the Eastern Conference table, one point behind the Houston Dynamo in the fifth and final 2012 MLS Cup Playoffs spot. The Crew kicks off against Sporting Kansas City at 4:00 p.m. ET on Sunday afternoon for the team's annual Boot Breast Cancer match presented by Ohio Health.