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Michael Parkhurst Cares About Columbus Crew SC as Much as You

You may not see his emotion on the field, but Parkhurst cares about this team and its performances as much as anyone.

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Columbus Crew SC fans take note, your club's captain, Michael Parkhurst, is one of you.

While many players shake off a loss rather quickly - something most learn early in sports - Parkhurst is not one of them. While always the true professional in the postgame locker room, the central defender hates losing just as much as you do.

On Saturday night, after Columbus Crew SC fell 2-1 to the New York Red Bulls, Parkhurst was down. Not only had the team lost, but his costly turnover had lead to the winning goal.

"It's poor timing," he said of the mental errors. "I mean, for myself of course, you don't expect to make mistakes like that. I cost the team tonight."

In the 67th minute, with the game tied at one a piece, Parkhurst received a pass from fellow center back Emanuel Pogatetz. His first touch was a bit long and gave New York forward Mike Grella a reason to close him down quickly. Parkhurst recovered, touching the ball around Grella, but was approached by Bradley Wright-Phillips.

This is where it all went to hell.

The captain knocked the ball back to avoid last year's MLS Golden Boot winner - maybe he thought Pogatetz dropped deep to support - and the ball went right into the path of Grella, who chipped it over goalkeeper Steve Clark for the 2-1 advantage.

"A giveaway on a penalty and then my mistake," Parkhurst said of the match. "Those are easy goals and it's disappointing."

It was clear by Parkhurst's tone that he felt responsibile for the loss. A mistake is just that, a mistake, but Parkhurst took it to heart as it was the goal that crushed his side.

"We started the second half really poorly, off the opening kickoff," he said. "We were able to bounce back after that goal, which was huge. The second goal was the deflating one."

For many players, this is a job. They come to training ever day and work hard. They want to do well and they want to win, but ultimately they leave their work at work.

For fans, that is not the case. They pay good money to come to games and want to see their team perform at its best. They want wins and when their team doesn't win, it's upsetting.

To see a player who cares about the team enough to share a similar level of disappointment to the fans is refreshing. Parkhurst isn't a Homegrown player, his only connection to Crew SC is the paycheck they write him, yet he takes losses as if he'd been in Columbus his whole career.

This is not the first time Parkhurst has worn his emotions on his sleeve after a loss. During last season's midseason run of poor form, Parkhurst was unhappy. The ties at home and the losses wore on him because he doesn't like to lose.

Berhalter appointed Parkhurst a captain in his first season at the club because of his leadership ability, but also because of his heart. He cares about the team, his teammates and the fans. When the team loses, he feels it, just like each and every one of you.

Parkhurst may not be Frankie Hejduk or Steve Clark when it comes to direct connections with the fans, but rest assured, if there's one players on this team who is as happy as you are when the team wins and as down when they under perform, it's Michael Parkhurst.