Count the Columbus Crew out at your own peril.

The defending MLS Cup champions looked the part of a team not quite ready to surrender their crown in a dominant 4-0 win over Inter Miami CF Saturday night at Field.

Although there's still some climbing left to do in their final five regular-season matches, Columbus are four points below the playoff line in the Eastern Conference, very much still in the picture.

“When a group of 11 guys who pull their sleeves up and work and fight and are organized, play hard, play smart, play together – good things happen,” Crew head coach Caleb Porter said after the match. “That’s one of our strongest lineups we've had in a long time. I think that showed. When we get that game model going the way we want it to go, it's pretty hard to stop. I think you saw that with the four goals and clean sheet, the pressing, the possessing, the tempo. It was all clicking today.”

With the exception of Jonathan Mensah in central defense, the Crew fielded as close to a first-choice XI as they have this season against Inter Miami. That included Gyasi Zardes up front, who struck for a brace in the win, and Pedro Santos in his more natural position on the wing.

“When he plays like that, he's unstoppable on the wing," Zardes said of Santos.

Zardes opened the scoring in the 39th minute and Santos quickly followed to give Columbus a 2-0 halftime lead. The Crew kept their foot on the gas, with Zardes scoring his team’s third goal in the 64th minute before an own goal by Leandro Gonzalez Pirez in the 83rd minute capped the scoring.

“We showed that killer instinct,” Porter said. “There have been a few games obviously we've been up, but we let the team hang around, and we went for the jugular today. I think that's a trademark of this team and this club. It's great to see that. It doesn't get any easier, but guys will be confident. We score four goals, we get a clean sheet, very comprehensive performance. And you saw this group's hunger to make the playoffs.”

It was also a milestone win for Porter, his 100th as an MLS head coach.

“I don't win any of those without good players and a good staff. It's that simple,” Porter said. “I’ve been very fortunate to be in two excellent clubs with very good players. I'm proud of the fact that I've won a trophy in both of those clubs. But I do this for the players, it's all about them. I'm a good coach with good players and I'm a bad coach with bad players. It's that simple.”

The Crew have no time to rest on their laurels, facing a quick turnaround Wednesday (8:30 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+) when meeting a Nashville SC side that's second in the Eastern Conference standings on 48 points and undefeated at Nissan Stadium this year.

“We're going to not get ahead of ourselves, we're not going to play the next five games,” Porter said. "We’re going to play the next game and we know it's a very difficult game against Nashville. We'll control what we can control and that's winning the next game.”