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Berhalter Finally Disappointed With Team's Performace

After staying positive throughout the 2014 season, Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter indicated his disappointment after Saturday's 3-2 loss to Toronto.

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Throughout 2014, Columbus Crew head coach Gregg Berhalter has preached patience when things have gone awry. After three wins to start the season, the Crew went eight games without a win before a 2-0 victory at home a week ago.

During the struggles, Berhalter explained that he was looking at the performance of his players as they continued to learn his system more than the final result.

After Saturday's 3-2 loss to Toronto FC, the head coach changed his tune.

"Disappointment," he told TheCrew.com when asked his thoughts on the match.

"I think that we put ourselves in a position to get a result tonight and we didn't do it. At the end of the day it's disappointing."

After losses or ties this season - results that others viewed as letdowns - Berhalter has maintained an upbeat attitude. He did not let the eight game winless streak affect him because his team was playing the right way.

In this game, Berhalter did not feel the same way.

"We didn't play well that's for sure," he said after the game.

"Our normal game, controlling the game and movement wasn't there.  Having said that we still put ourselves in position at the end of the day to get a result and we didn't do that.  Credit Toronto for putting a lot of pressure on towards the end of the game but I still think that we need to be better."

Against Toronto, Columbus twice took the lead, including a 2-1 advantage with nine minutes to play. Yet another late game collapse allowed the Reds to not only equalize, but steal all three points in stoppage time.

The frustration with his team's play was something new for Berhalter since taking over the Black and Gold and was a bit refreshing. In the eyes of many, this was not the first time this team has played poorly, yet it took a performance such as this to get the head coach to agree.

"We are a team that still needs to improve," Berhalter said. "We're a team that can beat most teams in the league at any given day but we need consistency and in games like this we need to come out with a result.

"I think that it's a learning process for the group and today was a really great opportunity in my eyes to really seal a result under pressure.  I think it was a good opportunity for us to learn how to win, learn how to fight for each other, to battle, and I'm disappointed that we didn't do it."

Berhalter's disappointments may be eased slightly due to the absence of forward Federico Higuain and midfielder Wil Trapp, both key pieces, in the Crew's lineup. Higuain served a one game suspension against Toronto and Trapp did not travel due to a knee injury that is not thought to be serious.

Even without two of their more important players, Berhalter believes his team should have held on to the result and earned a valuable three points against an Eastern Conference opponent.

As defender Josh Williams said the only good news is Columbus has a chance to quickly turn things around.

"There's not much positive to come out from this," he said to TheCrew.com after the game. "I guess the one positive is that we've got two more games this week to correct this."

The Crew host Western Conference foes Real Salt Lake on Wednesday night before taking to the road to face rivals D.C. United Saturday. Following that game, the Black and Gold don't play another league game until June 28, due to the World Cup break.

Columbus are looking to make things right before they head into that break.

"We just have got to turn it around the next game," midfielder Daniel Paladini told reporters after the game.

"The good thing is that we have the opportunity at home to play against Salt Lake, get three points there and then close out the week before the World Cup with six of nine points."

If the Crew can do that, Berhalter's tune may change once again.