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Chivas USA-Crew Preview
By PAUL DIGIACOMO
(AP) -- The Columbus Crew know they picked the wrong time to put together consecutive poor performances on the road.
A return home to face a struggling Chivas USA team that hasn't won in Ohio in nearly seven years may give the Crew the ideal opportunity to bounce back.
Columbus looks to grab possession of the fifth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with a fourth straight win on its own pitch Wednesday night against Chivas.
The Crew (12-10-6) were on a four-game winning streak, six-match unbeaten run and in the midst of a 6-1-2 stretch before losing 2-0 to New England on Sept. 5 and 3-1 to New York on Saturday.
The defeat to the Red Bulls and D.C.'s 2-1 win over the Revolution knocked Columbus out of fifth in the East, dropping two points behind United.
"If we're going to go to the playoffs we have to win (Wednesday) for sure," said midfielder Milovan Mirosevic, who scored Saturday. "From the first minute we have to show that we want to be there, and that's our target now, we have to forget this game. We have now six games left instead of seven and we have to start getting some points."
Columbus has done a good job of picking up points when playing at home. The Crew are 7-1-1 in their last nine matches there and looking to win four in a row on their own pitch for the first time since March 27-May 15, 2010.
"We have to forget and we have to move on," midfielder Dilly Duka said. "You have to think about that home game, it's a crucial game and it's a good game to get three points. We're looking at the playoffs so we have to forget and move on."
The Crew lost 1-0 the first time they hosted Chivas USA (7-13-7) on Oct. 1, 2005, but they've gone 3-0-3 in the last six matchups at home. These teams have not met since a 3-all draw in Columbus on May 28, 2011.
Chivas is nine points behind fifth-place Vancouver in the West and enters this match on a season-high seven-game winless stretch (0-5-2) since a 1-0 win at Portland on July 28.
The club has not gone eight straight matches without a victory since an 0-7-2 slump in its inaugural season in 2005. Chivas is also looking to avoid a season-high fourth straight loss after falling 2-0 at home to MLS-leading San Jose on Saturday and into a last-place tie with the Timbers.
"I don't think that I've ever experienced such frustration in all the years I've played this game," defender Danny Califf told the league's official website. "It seems like we can't really put a foot right and we can't get things to go our way and we can't get the breaks."
Updated September 17, 2012