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Berhalter Calls for Fan Support in First Leg of the Playoffs

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Gregg Berhalter is excited to host the first playoff game of the conference semifinals and play in front of the Crew fans.

Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

On Saturday, the Columbus Crew will play their first playoff game since 2011, but it will also mark the team's first home game of the post season since 2010.

With the current playoff format, the four and five seed play in a knockout game before the conference semifinals. The Black and Gold spent the final portion of the season battling to get into the playoffs, but once that was assured, the goal was to get as far up the standings as possible. Finishing third meant they advanced to the conference semis and guaranteed them a home game.

Now, in the two-game series, the Crew must take advantage of the first game at home against the New England Revolution before they head to Boston in a week.

"For us, we want to have a good performance at home and we want to get a win at home," head coach Gregg Berhalter said. "Then we go into the second game knowing exactly what needs to happen to get to the next round."

In 2014, Columbus was 9-4-4 at the friendly confines of Crew Stadium, a big part of their success throughout the year. The team credits a lot of their quality performances at home to the fans who made this the most attended year in the stadium's history.

"That was nice. That was interesting," Berhalter said of the Tifo designs last week when discussing the Nordecke. "I'll tell you what, there's some good artists there. That was pretty good. I don't know how they do that.

"They're creative guys and to come up with something like that is nice and I think it shows the bond the team has with the supporters."

For their most important game this year, the Black and Gold are looking for the supporters to fuel them to a win. It is not just the Nordecke in the northeast corner of the stadium, but everyone in attendance.

"We're looking for the best possible atmosphere in the stadium," Berhalter said this week.

"We know that when the fans are behind us and the fans are loud, we have a good chance of performing and coming out with a victory. Those things are important and the fans have been great this year. A lot of credit goes to them, how they've been behind us so we hope that will continue."

In the playoffs, anything can happen and the Crew will look for any advantage they can gain in their home game. They would love to build a big lead in the first leg in order to give them a better chance of advancing.

Berhalter wants all the fans to know, they can be a major factor in helping the team do just that on Saturday.