Following Saturday's draws between the New England Revolution and the Houston Dynamo and the Chicago Fire and the Montreal Impact, the Crew knew the task at hand heading into Sunday night's road match against FC Dallas as it fights for a spot in the Eastern Conference playoff picture. Picking up where they left off following last week's 3-0 triumph over the Fire, the Black & Gold earned its third-straight win with a 4-2 victory over the Hoops.
With Dallas also gunning for a playoff spot, Interim Head Coach Brian Bliss knew it would be a battle from the opening whistle. Thanks to Bliss' up-tempo style the Crew took a 2-0 lead within the first 17 minutes of the match following goals from Federico Higuaín and Jairo Arrieta.
The dream start was just what the Black & Gold needed playing away from home.
"We started off really well. We got a couple of goals off the counter," Bliss said after the match. "Our guys’ willingness to run off the ball and get forward was very good."
Blas Pérez would get one back for the Hoops in the 21st minute, but Dominic Oduro would score his team-leading 12th goal of the season just before halftime to make it 3-1 heading into the break.
Shortly into the second half, Mauro Diaz put pressure on the Crew after squeaking through the Black & Gold backline to make it 3-2. Following the lapse, focused team defense helped the Crew maintain the lead before Bernardo Anor would add an insurance goal in the 86th minute.
"To have a two-goal lead is rare for our club lately," Bliss explained. "But the guys did well with it near the end of the game. We absorbed a lot of pressure but Chad [Barson], Tyson [Wahl] and Tony [Tchani] won a lot of duels in the middle of the field. We were picking up a lot of loose balls.
"Matt Lampson made a couple of good saves to keep us in it. The one on Blas Perez right there before we made it 4-2 was a huge save."
Now with three matches remaining, the Black & Gold's playoff hopes are one step closer to becoming reality.
"We know what’s at stake right now," Oduro said after the win. "We have a great coach who is pushing us forward and everybody is in sync with him. That’s something that really helps the team. That’s what is moving us forward. Everybody is giving 100-percent and that’s something that you can’t take away.
"We just have to push it and move the team forward."
Returning to Columbus to host Sporting Kansas City next week, the Crew is confident the momentum will carry over just as it has in the past three matches.
"The more we win, the more confidence we have," Anor explained. "We know for sure that this team is full of talented players. We’ve just got to take advantage of each of us, try and do our best and try to provide the team with our different qualities.
"If we go out there and play our best, I think we’re going to keep winning games."