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Vital Road Results are Beginning to Come at the Right Time for Columbus Crew SC

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It was tough sledding away from home early in the season, but Crew SC are turning things around at the right time.

Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

Last week, head coach Gregg Berhalter said he believed his team was over the early season struggles on the road as they prepared to head to New York City.

"Our form away from home has improved over this last half of the season," he explained. "We feel confident that we can get results on the road now. Now we have the opportunity to do so with five games being away from home. So it's a good opportunity for us to prove it."

Columbus Crew SC did just that this weekend in the team's 2-1 win over New York City FC at Yankee Stadium.

After failing to win in the team's first nine road games, the Black & Gold finally broke through in mid-July with a 1-0 over the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park. Columbus then got thrashed by Orlando City SC 5-2 in their next road tilt, but have now won two games in a row away from MAPFRE Stadium.

"I think it was a good game," Berhalter said after Saturday's result.

"I think there were parts of the game that they controlled and then parts where we controlled and I think towards the end of the second half, we just kept going. Controlling the game, creating the chances, and looked the more likely of the teams to win."

This win gave Crew SC a big three points on the road as the club approaches the final stretch of the season. With seven matches remaining, the Black & Gold sit in third place in the Eastern Conference, but have played the second-most games in the East.

The New York Red Bulls, who defeated East-leading D.C. United 3-0 on Sunday, are a point ahead of Columbus but have played two fewer games. Toronto FC is four points behind Crew SC, but also has two games in hand.

Continuing to get results on the road is going to be important if the Black & Gold wants to hold its spot in the East or move up. Of the remaining contests, four of the games are on the road, all of which are against Eastern Conference teams.

Crew SC plays the recently struggling United twice over the final stretch, once at MAFPRE Stadium and once at RFK. The Black & Gold travel to Toronto and to Red Bull Arena.

Due Columbus' early flurry of games, Crew SC needs road results against the two teams on either side of them to help maintain, at the minimum, their position in the table. If Toronto or New York can get results in their games in hand, as well as defeat the Black & Gold head-to-head, Crew SC will likely be finishing in fourth or below in the East.

A season of high expectations has seen a lot of ups and downs for Columbus, but a flourish to the finish line could be exactly what this team needs to end this season on a positive note and head to the playoffs for the second consecutive year.