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Berhalter Ready to be More Critical

After several disappointing results, the Crew head coach is ready to look at things with a more critical eye.

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Columbus Crew are a young team. Not just young in age -average of 25-years old - but in their overall team development.

Head coach Gregg Berhalter took over this New Era for the Crew with a plan in mind. He had a belief in a certain way to play and believed the players at his disposal fit with that style. The players bought in quickly, but recently results have dried up.

"At this stage, we're looking at the performance," Berhalter told the assembled media after Sunday's 2-0 loss to Sporting Kansas City.

"That's what is most important to us. I think our performances have been [good] for the most part. We're still developing our team."

Other players have echoed this belief that it is about the performance at this stage in the team growth and they continue to believe in their plan.

"We believe the system that the Coach has implemented, as well as the technical staff, is something we enjoy, we believe in, and that we're also going to defend full heartedly," Federico Higuain said last week.

"It's really clear for everyone to understand that it's about how we play [more] than the result. It's about showing the right kind of football. The system put out there is very difficult to actually play and it takes time. For us, it's something that we know and we understand and it's important for everyone else to understand."

After Wednesday's 1-0 loss to the Houston Dynamo, Berhalter changed his tune a bit.

"I think it's time to be a little bit critical of the performance," Berhalter told reporters after the second consecutive loss.

"And I think today's especially is a game where we should have gotten something out of the game and that's what I'm disappointed about."

The coach has not reached the point where results are the only thing that matter, but it is getting to the time in the year where points begin to matter more. The team wants to continue to improve within the system, but frustration is starting to set in.

"I thought this was a game we could have won," defender Josh Williams said in his post-game interview Wednesday.

"I think [Berhalter] had us prepared. He did everything he could. We just didn't go out there and perform."

It has been over a month since Columbus last captured the full three points and that is becoming concerning. They have been successful in dominating possession and creating chances, but they aren't getting the early goal they are looking for.

"We can't wait for them to punch us in the mouth first," Williams said. "We need to punch a team in the mouth first and score so they start pressing and then we open them up."

One thing is certain, the pressure is going to build on this team after such a hot start. It may take time for the Crew to get the results they desire, but fans - and possibly players as well - need to see signs that things are moving in the right direction.