They were never gone but the former Eastern Conference leading Crew SC might have wondered off the trail, winning just one in their last seven games but Sunday the original Black and Gold returned to Mapfre Stadium.
Sub Krisztian Nemeth scored on his first touch of the game in the 84th minute to lift the Columbus Crew SC to a 2-1 victory against the first-place Philadelphia Union on Sunday in Columbus, Ohio.
Philadelphia (13-4-5, 44 points) had a three-game winning streak and six-match unbeaten streak snapped when Nemeth, who entered in the 83rd minute for the Crew (11-5-5, 38 points), took a pass from Luis Diaz at the far post and scored his first goal of the season in his third game since being signed as a free agent on Oct. 5.
Artur made it 1-0 for Columbus in the 37th minute before Jamiro Monteiro tied it in the 57th on a penalty kick.
Eloy Room made eight saves for the Crew, including one in the 80th minute when he tipped a shot by Kacper Przybylko over the crossbar.
Columbus fielded its strongest lineup in seven games with midfielders Lucas Zelarayan, Darlington Nagbe and forward Gyasi Zardes playing together for the first time since Oct. 3.
The Crew play at Orlando City on Wednesday in a match rescheduled because Columbus had a positive COVID-19 test.