The New York Red Bulls aren't entirely sure why they've turned the proverbial corner.

As they eye a Saturday evening visit to the Columbus Crew (6 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+) hoping to continue their surge toward an Eastern Conference place in the Audi 2021 MLS Cup Playoffs, they're just thankful it happened.

"I think the last few weeks give us a big hope and a big belief in our daily business and also in our style of play," manager Gerhard Struber said. "I think this is important in the world of football that you realize in the end, good results, and I think the results, yeah, give us a big power, a big energy, a big boost to can also create a very good performance in Columbus."

After struggling through the summer dog days, the Red Bulls are unbeaten with five wins in their last seven matches, a stretch that began with a dominant 4-0 win at Inter Miami CF.

They've conceded only twice during this stretch, one that includes two wins and a draw against Hudson River Derby rivals New York City FC and a draw against the Philadelphia Union, last year's Supporters' Shield winner.

Now, they enter MLS Week 32 a point beneath the playoff line with five matches to play, including a game or more in hand on all eight teams above them in the standings.

It's amid that context they return to the scene of their last defeat, a heartbreaking 2-1 loss against the Crew on Sept. 14 that saw the hosts rally at Field for goals in the 74th and 88th minutes.

"When we play last game there ... we were a totally different team," said striker Patryk Klimala, who scored the 25th-minute opener in that setback.

Although that game prompted Struber to say his side played "like a youth team against adults" in certain moments, defender Andrew Gutman couldn't quite put his finger on their sudden improvements.

"You know, I cannot really pinpoint it," he said. "I know after that game when we went straight to Miami and you know, we had a big team discussion about what we expect from ourselves, what we expect as a team and what we expect out of this season."

Meanwhile, Columbus are hunting a playoff place as well. The hosts begin the weekend at 10th place in the East, while the visitors are in ninth place.

The defending MLS Cup champions are two points back of the Red Bulls with four matches remaining and own a 3W-1L-2D record in their last six.

"I think their confidence will be on the highest level, but we are on good shape," said Klimala, who leads the Red Bulls with eight goals. "We are ready for them, and we are going to show you this on Saturday."