If you care about keeping the Crew, buy some playoff tickets

It's this simple: Every empty seat in Mapfre Stadium during this playoff run is another excuse to move the team.

After a cathartic 4-1 home win over New York City, the Columbus Crew merely had to avoid losing 3-0 at NYC to win their home-and-home series on aggregate. Columbus held on for a 2-0 loss and thus advanced to the MLS Eastern Conference Finals, where they'll face rival Toronto FC in another home-and-home for the rights to host MLS Cup.

Due to the inconveniently timed FIFA international break that derails every MLS postseason, that series won't begin until Nov. 21 at Mapfre. If you care about keeping the Crew in Columbus, buy a ticket and be there.

There were decent reasons to skip the last game. It happened on short notice. It was Halloween night and a school night. Proceeds ultimately profited Anthony Precourt, the investor-operator who has become persona non grata in Columbus and around MLS for threatening to move the Crew to Austin in 2019 — and by “threatening” I mean all evidence suggests he's definitely moving the team unless the larger MLS apparatus steps in to stop him.

Ultimately, a large number of fans showed up anyway — enough that the official 14,416 attendance figure seemed unnaturally low, considering the season average was 15,439 and anyone with working eyeballs could see this was one of the biggest crowds of the season. Still, Mapfre wasn't sold out, a fact Precourt can recite while gently caressing the face of every person who needs to sign off on his big move.

This time, there's really no excuse. Your money still goes to Precourt, but filling his wallet with a whole stadium's worth of ticket dollars would be like heaping hot coals on his head. (It's in the Bible; look it up.) Plus, you have two weeks to plan for it. Plus, it's the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, which means you probably have the next day off (or at least a light load). Plus, Toronto is one of the Crew's great historic rivals, and they just had the best regular season in MLS history. Given the energy around the Crew right now, it's going to be wildly entertaining no matter the result.

Merely tweeting #SaveTheCrew isn't enough. One concrete way to prove Columbus is committed to the Crew is to actually attend the games when they matter most.