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"Gutsy Performance" Helps Columbus Crew SC Earn a Road Victory

It wasn't easy and it wasn't always pretty, but the Black & Gold returned from Colorado with a full three points.

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

It's no secret that Columbus Crew SC has struggled of late. After putting together back-to-back wins over the Chicago Fire, the Black & Gold let three points melt into one, despite being up three goals in the second half, at home and were blitzed on the road in the team's next two contests.

Last Saturday, Crew SC put those games behind them and grinded out a tough 2-1 road win over the Colorado Rapids.

"I thought it was a gutsy performance by our guys," head coach Gregg Berhalter said. "Obviously going down a goal and after the confidence dipped after last week's performance, we hung in there. And we certainly stepped up the effort in the second half and I thought we had some good combination, some good goals and it was a good win."

It wasn't the prettiest game of the season for Columbus, a team that prides itself on attacking soccer.

The first half saw the Rapids dominate much of the play and keep the ball in their attacking half. This extended run of possession eventually led to a goal just before halftime.

After being outscored 8-3 over the previous two halves, giving up a goal like that could have crushed the team's spirit. But as Berhalter said, his team responded in the second half, despite playing against one of the league's best defensive teams at altitude.

"I think it's going to bring us closer together in the long run," defender Chris Klute said of the comeback. "A couple of weeks ago we kind of let down being up three goals, and we were down a goal this game and we came together instead of just going against each other, and we came back and won the game."

It was two goals from league-leading goal scorer and MLS Player of the Week Kei Kamara  his 16th and 17th on the season, that brought Columbus back.

"For me, I want to keep scoring goals," Kamara said after the match. "I'm going to keep scoring goals as long as the team keeps producing, but it's really all about that three points on the road. That's huge."

It was a team effort that earned this win, only the second for the club on the road this year. Midfielder Wil Trapp worked tirelessly in the center of the park, the wingers and outside backs continued to make outside runs, and midfielder Tony Tchani pulled the strings, earning assists on both goals.

"That was something that we work on, making that run off the fullback," Tchani said of the game-winning goal. "When I got that ball I thought [Ethan Finlay] was offsides and [Hector Jimenez] made that run. I was hoping he would be there so I tried to play to him and just make that run across, but thankfully Kei was there."

Thankfully indeed.

The Black & Gold are off this upcoming weekend, but return home the following week for two straight. Crew SC faces New York City FC next Wednesday (August 19) before hosting Sporting Kansas City three days later.