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Columbus Crew SC Looking for Three Points in Road Tilt with Real Salt Lake

No road wins on the season won't change the approach for the Black & Gold.

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

After six games without a win, Columbus Crew SC got back on track Wednesday night with a 2-1 come-from-behind victory over the New England Revolution.

Three days later, the Black & Gold go on the road, where they are yet to win in league play, to take on Real Salt Lake.

Despite a losing record at Rio Tinto Stadium, Crew SC has reasons to be optimistic heading into this contest.

First, Salt Lake also played on Wednesday on the road - a 1-0 loss - so the club has to travel across the country for this match just like Columbus.

"They're coming off a trip that they were just in New York," Crew SC midfielder Ethan Finlay said. "They're going to be traveling, we're going to be traveling. It's going to be an even playing field and we're going there to try and win a game."

Second, Real received two red cards in the loss meaning starting midfielder Javier Morales and defender Demar Phillips will miss this contest.

This is a big boost for the Black & Gold as both of these players have been major contributors for Salt Lake this season.

Morales leads the team in goals (3) and assists (5) and has played in 12 games, making 10 starts.

"I've admired him for years, I think he's one of the better players in the league," Columbus head coach Gregg Berhalter said when asked about Morales. "It certainly doesn't hurt that he's not playing but you move on, you plan for the other guys and I'm sure that whoever comes in is going to want to take their chance."

Phillips is the first-choice left back for head coach Jeff Cassar, starting 10 of nine games played this season.

Defenders Chris Schuler and Jamison Olave will both also miss this contest with injuries and forward Alvaro Saborio was called up to the Costa Rican national team, so he will be out.

While Real will be shorthanded for this game, the Black & Gold aren't taking Salt Lake lightly.

"No matter what, they're going to be playing at home," forward Kei Kamara said. "They're going to be a good team so we just have to go in there and just stay focused. They're going to want to get points and they're one of the solid teams in the West and we don't play that many teams in the West so we definitely have to go in there and keep our heads."

Keeping their heads will be important as twice this year Crew SC has seen a red card issued to its side on the road, which makes a tough road game that much more difficult. Columbus doesn't want to give any advantage back to Real by going down a man in this match.

Instead the Black & Gold will look to build on the momentum from the midweek win, hoping to begin a streak as they enter the second half of the season.

"It's great," Finlay said of the last victory. "It gives us the confidence and hopefully it also puts us back in that mindset that we're more than capable of being a top team in this league."

Regardless of who plays for Salt Lake or the away form of Crew SC, the players have a sense of confidence heading into this match. When asked the expectations for this road contest, multiple players replied the same way.

"Three points."

Now wouldn't that be a nice change?