Crewmas might come early in the season, but we’re officially entering the most wonderful time of the year. 

The chase to make the MLS Cup Playoffs is on and the Columbus Crew is in the midst of an intense Eastern Conference scrap to advance to the postseason.  

Including Friday night’s massive matchup at CF Montréal, the Crew has six games remaining in the regular season, and head coach Caleb Porter said each of them is its own final.  

“(These games are) essentially cup finals and they need to be three points,” Porter said last week. “This time of year, the best teams – teams that are chasing hardware – come through and get the job done and take care of business, and we want to be one of these teams.”  

Entering Friday’s game, they’re sixth in the Eastern Conference with a month of regular-season soccer remaining. Between now and the finale on Oct. 9, it’s important for the team to build upon its momentum entering the most exciting time of the regular season.  

It helps that the Crew is unbeaten in 15 of its last 16 games, which is the club’s best run of form since 2009. But following the scoreless draw against Chicago Fire FC this past Saturday, Porter said it’s important for the club to look forward and grow, not dwell on previous success.  

“What I love about this group is the run that we're on is pretty incredible,” he said. “Too many draws, but you know, I think – what is it, 15 games? – and one team has beaten us. That's the mark of a good team; that we're steady, that our mentality is tough, that we're strong and that we’re hard to beat. That's a very good quality out of a team and yet, not one of the draws that we've had, have the guys been satisfied or happy. I think that's a very good quality.  

“Our team is still, I think, on the cusp of peaking but not there yet. I think that's perfect, because we've got six games to go and I think we need another three, four before we become the team ready to make a run to win MLS Cup, and I like that. I like that we're not peaking too early. I like that we're not satisfied with anything less than a win.” 

At this point of the season, every match counts, perhaps more than at other points of the season. The lone hiccup in the Crew’s unbeaten run came against Montréal, which means the team will enter Friday night looking for revenge.  

But after that game, Columbus still has two crucial home games at Field.  

On Sept. 18, we’re treated to a 2015 MLS Cup rematch in the Ohio capital, as the Portland Timbers arrive in a similar playoff scenario as the Crew.  

The next month could be an emotional roller coaster, but this is exactly what Crew supporters should want: meaningful soccer during the final stretch of the regular season. There are six games left, and each will be more important than the last.

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