After riding high for multiple weeks, the Columbus Crew came back to Earth Saturday night, falling 2-1 to the New England Revolution. The loss was a setback for a team in a fight to qualify for the MLS Cup playoffs, but all the Black and Gold can do now is continue to work hard and focus on next week's game with the Philadelphia Union.
Monday's training session brought cold weather and rain. As the media entered the facility, the players and coaches were heading for the locker room before the skies opened.
Conversation with Gregg Berhalter
- The head coach said he is not one to make excuses for his team but he had some for this last game. He credited New England's pressure, saying the Crew had a hard time dealing with it. He brought up weather on Saturday and playing on a very fast surface, but also mentioned the different lines on the Gillette Stadium turf, which he thought made his team play smaller. Pointed to the spacing of his team which played right into the Revolution's hands.
- Berhalter said it's tough to decide how much of the film he will use from this game. He said it looked crazy to watch it on video.
- Berhalter said Saturday's game was one where New England got dominated at home in terms of chances created. He said he feels good about that. This loss won't hurt the team's confidence at all.
- Berhalter clarified that Toronto, who sits three points behind the Crew with one game in hand, wouldn't be ahead of Columbus because of the season series, but rather because of win totals if they win their extra game.
- Berhalter said the final three games don't mean any more than the last, "and the last game meant a helluva lot."
- Asked about Waylon Francis' second yellow card and the situation that led up to it, Berhalter said collectively the team lost their heads a little bit. He said if they would have stayed with 11 men, they would have equalized. He said it started with arguing with the official after New England's go-ahead goal and created a chain of events that led to the red card.
- Berhalter pointed to the 20 minutes leading up to the goal as opportunities to score. Mentioned chances by Michael Parkhurst, Hector Jimenez, Ethan Finlay, Francis, and Aaron Schoenfeld.
- Berhalter said there are options at left back to replace Francis. Bernardo Anor and Chad Barson were both mentioned as well as Ben Sweat, who Berhalter said has done well at training.
- Asked about replacing Federico Higuain, who will miss the Union game with yellow card accumulation, Berhalter said they will considering a lot of things and a number of players. He said they could go with two forwards, they could go with Anor, Ben Speas, Romain Gall in Higuain's role. He said there's a lot of alternatives.
- Berhalter said Kevan George is the only player called in to his national team. He said Francis will stick with the Crew and he thought the U.S. soccer federation was conscious of guys that were in playoff hunts when discussing his team.
- Berhalter said Francis only gets a one game suspension because, in the league's eyes, he got a red card, no yellows; two yellows equal one red.
- Berhalter said Agustin Viana is back in a limited capacity.
- Berhalter said, "no comment" when asked if anything had changed in regards to the allocation order.
- The head coach said Ben Swanson is still indefinitely training with the team. When asked if he saw any finality to the situation any time soon, he responded, "sure."