With their latest wins, Crew sends a clear message to MLS

Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

It was supposed to be their night. After a disastrous start to the season, the New England Revolution had won four straight matches and pulled themselves out of the Eastern Conference basement. They were the hottest team in MLS and had the defending league champion Columbus Crew at home in front of a raucous crowd. The resurrected Revs were going to let the league know they would be a force to be reckoned with for the remainder of the season. By the time the referee blew the final whistle, it was the Crew who sent a message with their 5-1 dismantling of the battered, dazed, and bewildered Revs: The road to the MLS Cup still goes through Columbus.

Just What They Needed

In their first game since the Champions Cup final, the Black & Gold eeked out a middling 3-2 win on the road against NYCFC. That was followed by an awful performance in a loss to Inter Miami. That’s when Sporting Kansas City came along at just the right time. SKC has had a very difficult season. They don’t look to have a lot of skill, speed, or passion for the game and were just what the Crew needed to jump start them back to playing the type of soccer we know they’re capable of. A Cucho hat trick led the way to a 4-0 win in a game where SKC did not record a single shot on goal. Sure, it was not a quality opponent, but sometimes you need to play a team like that to help find your way again.

Can You Hear Me Now?

The message should have been received just by the Crew going through two Liga MX teams to make it to the Champions Cup final. But when the top teams in MLS were discussed by those who cover the league, they were barely getting a mention. That is all going to change after these last two wins, especially after the dismantling of a hot New England club. Sure, Sporting Kansas City is bad and the Revs may go back to their early season form, but championship caliber teams bury opponents like this and that is exactly what the Crew did. If the rest of MLS didn’t hear the message before, they’ve certainly heard it now: the road to the MLS Cup STILL goes through Columbus.