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Crew SC Looking for Springboard Victory Over the LA Galaxy Once Again

The Black & Gold try to get back on track against the defending champs this weekend.

Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Let's take a ride back in time 10 months to a mid-August evening many Columbus Crew SC fans will remember.

The Black & Gold entered its match with the LA Galaxy on the back of a home loss to Toronto FC. Columbus had struggled through much of the summer, winning just three games since the beginning of May.

Yet that night was a 4-1 victory in front of an electric, sellout crowd.

"That was a great night and hopefully we can have a similar night," winger Ethan Finlay said of the convincing victory. "Obviously it's going to be a great crowd and we hope we can put on a show and entertain those fans."

Goals from Justin Meram, Finlay, Ben Speas, and Giancarlo Gonzlez spread throughout the match, mixed with a fun, free-flowing game made it the marquee contest of the year for Columbus.

Return to the present and Finlay and his teammates hope they can recreate the magic of that night as the defending MLS Cup Champions come to town once again on Saturday.

Like the meeting in 2014, the Black & Gold are looking to set things right on the season. After a good start to the year, Crew SC has won just one game in its last seven, conceding at least two goals in each of those contests.

The Black & Gold come into this match after a home loss to Canadian opposition, just like last season, and are attempting to figure out what has gone wrong during the team's slide.

A year ago, the win over the Galaxy was a springboard for Columbus, as the victory kicked of a 8-2-1 stretch to end the season, helping the Black & Gold rise to third in the Eastern Conference and qualify for the MLS Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2011.

With another big crowd expected Saturday, head coach Gregg Berhalter and his players hope this contest can have similar results as its 2014 counterpart.

"We're excited to play in front of a full house," Berhalter said of Saturday. "When we play in front of a lot of fans, the atmosphere is incredible so we really enjoy that."

Last year, the performance against LA helped to turn around a struggling Columbus side.

While the meeting is earlier this season, Crew SC is hoping to get back to what they want to do against the Galaxy and get off this recent slide.

"We just need to keep doing what we did at the start of the season and keep playing our style and impose our will on other teams," Finlay said this week. "That's something we were doing earlier in the season, even despite some results we didn't get at the start of the season."

Finlay and his teammates don't often look backwards, but they can learn from how last year went and the success they found once the team figured itself out, which began with the victory over the Galaxy.

"Last year we kind of had a little big of that 15 game run where we weren't getting the results we wanted," he said. "This year, we've had some changes to our lineup and I think we're still kind of looking to see some guys step up here and give us a little bit more and I know that there's more than capable guys depth wise."

After three games in seven days last week, Columbus returned to a normal schedule, which will hopefully help them get back in their groove.

"I think it's more of a normal week so we could expect some changes [from last week]," Berhalter said. "We want to get in our normal rhythm again. We tinkered a lot with the three-game week and I think we're probably going back to normal."

A return to normal could result in the type of performances fans saw earlier in the season when the team dominated the opposition at home.

Last season, Crew SC imposed their will, as Finlay said, on Los Angeles and the results that followed were positive. If things go as planned, Saturday's game with that same Galaxy side could provide a similar lift going forward.