Crew coach Robert Warzycha congratulates Tom Heinemann on his first MLS goal, June 26, 2011.

Columbus see past win over D.C. as turning point

Robert Warzycha on Friday referenced Columbus’ Oct. 2 win against D.C. United as “the perfect time for a win.”

Fresh from the boost of winning that game against D.C., the Crew delivered a devastating display of attacking prowess on Saturday, as Warzycha’s team rolled to a 3-0 victory at New England to clinch a playoff spot for the fourth straight season

By mentioning the Oct. 2 win against D.C. he meant the Crew (13-12-8, 47 points) have put distance between themselves and memories of their bad period. That win against United snapped a six-game winless streak for Columbus. By the time the team headed to Massachusetts, Warzycha felt he was managing a different side to the one that couldn’t seem to buy a goal or catch a break.

Neither was a problem against the Revolution as Andrés Mendoza showed that he can score on the road with tallies in the 31st and 63rd minutes, sandwiching a first career goal for Dilly Duka in the 59th. The win was the Crew’s first away win in five.

“We’re not celebrating too much,” goalkeeper William Hesmer said. “We’re happy we are where we are. Now the next step is getting in the top three [in the Eastern Conference] and winning four playoff games from there. It’s not over yet, but we’re happy. We believed in ourselves. We kept the faith and were rewarded for our hard work.”

Mendoza has 13 goals to move one behind the Golden Boot lead but had only one away goal until fellow forward Emilio Rentería set him up twice against the porous Revolution defense.

“He’s a very sneaky and dangerous striker,” Dilly said. “Getting two goals puts him in a good spot for the Golden Boot and puts him in a good spot to start the playoffs hot.”

It was a game full of surprises as Columbus moved to within a point of Philadelphia and Sporting Kansas City with the regular-season finale on Oct. 22 at Chicago. The Crew hadn’t recorded a shutout in nine games but Hesmer needed to make only two saves for the team’s 10th clean sheet and his eighth of the season.

“There was a tough stretch lately and people thought we weren’t going to make the playoffs,” coach Robert Warzycha said. “We kept working and now we’re getting some results. I’m proud of the team. They never gave up even through the bad stretch and all the injuries.”

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