SALT LAKE CITY - The Columbus Crew kept their playoff hopes alive with a solid 2-1 road win against Real Salt Lake at Rice-Eccles Stadium.
Edson Buddle hit the back of the net twice to bring the Crew three points closer to the final Eastern Conference playoff spot.
"Three points always make you happy," said Crew head coach Robert Warzycha.
The Columbus interim boss was the most happy about his team's performance in the first half, where he felt his team controlled the game. In the second, he thought they were lucky to come out with the win.
"Two different halves," said Warzycha. "The first one we dominate and were playing very good. In the second, they came out strong and we didn't play our best - giving a goal away. But this time we managed to win it, and that's very encouraging."
Buddle opened the scoring in just the eighth minute. A long diagonal ball out of the midfield from Simon Elliott found Chris Henderson open in the corner. Henderson sent a low cross into the six-yard box that was settled by Buddle and then slotted past D.J. Countess.
"Chris sent in a good ball," Buddle said. "I kind of mistrapped the ball but it ended up a good mistake and then slotted it in the corner."
Buddle wasn't finished. Just before the halftime break Kyle Martino laid off a perfect through ball between two RSL defenders and into the stride of Buddle who beat Countess at the far post.
"I was patient on the run and [Martino] was patient enough to hold it and send a delivery right on time, and I was able to hit it low and hard and into the corner," he said.
During the run of play in the first half Buddle was fouled hard by RSL defender Eddie Pope, which aggravated an ankle injury that Buddle picked up in New England. At halftime Buddle was replaced by John Wolyniec because of the ailing ankle.
Even though he played only a half, Warzycha was pleased with Buddle's play in the vital win.
"Edson is a good player and he showed today, scoring those two goals, that he's capable of scoring a lot of goals," Warzycha said. "It's too bad he's nursing an injury and cannot play to his potential."
Buddle is happy the Crew are coming together as a team at such a crucial point in the season.
"It definitely feels good to get one on the road," Buddle said. "We've just got to continue getting these points and finish up the season strong."
Scott McAllister is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.