OBETZ, Ohio – After rebounding from a lackluster stretch earlier this summer with two wins and a draw in the past month, the Columbus Crew seemed to be regaining their form. But a third loss of the season to Toronto on Aug. 9 left the team searching for answers again and struggling to find consistency.
Ahead of last Saturday's match with the LA Galaxy, Crew midfielder Tony Tchani called the matchup the kind of game that could turn their season around. With a resounding 4-1 victory, the club may be heading in that direction.
"We needed it," Tchani told MLSsoccer.com after Tuesday's training session. "After that game against Toronto, we were very disappointed. The [Galaxy] game was kind of trying to make a statement. We see a good team in ourselves, and after beating other guys, we showed it to the league and the other teams."
Has the season been turned around? Tchani admitted that things are not that easy.
"Not quite yet, but it was a good start," he said. "After beating the best team in the league – based on their performance in the last couple games – I feel like it was a burst of confidence, and we can build from that."
The Galaxy win was the second of a three-game homestand for the Crew, who close it out against the Houston Dynamo this weekend (Saturday, 7:30 pm ET, MLS LIVE). Winger Justin Meram said the team looks at the stretch as a crucial one for their season, and the most important of those games could come against Houston.
"Now it's Houston, and that's probably 10 times more of a game than LA, with [Houston] creeping up and us trying to separate from them," Meram said.
With only 10 games remaining, nine against Eastern Conference opponents competing for the fourth and fifth playoff spots, the Crew will need to get used to this sort of pressure game.
"From now on, we just need to beat all the teams in the Eastern Conference," Tchani said. "We're playing against them; we're not playing against the Western Conference. It's always good to have those wins, but if we can beat the Eastern Conference teams, that will help us push it into the playoffs."