Saturday night's 4-4 draw between Columbus Crew SC and the Montreal Impact will be remembered by those that witnessed it at MAPFRE Stadium. For many fans, it won't be the eight goals scored but rather the disappointment of seeing Crew SC up 4-1 with 37 minutes to play and come away with a single point.
"I categorize that as an immature performance," head coach Gregg Berhalter said after the match. "We're better than that and we didn't show it after the 4-1. Way too easy to concede, particularly the second and the third goals. I think after that we got back, we got stable, but it was obviously the one-goal margin that hurt us in the end."
Typically following a discouraging performance, Berhalter focuses on getting better and moving on to the next game. While this will still be the case, he let his team know what he thought of their play against the Impact.
"That was just it," he said of his postgame words to his players. "Just stressing the immaturity of the whole thing. Again, to be up 4-1 at home, you should win the game and they know that, we know that. So it's about moving forward and focus on the next game."
It's hard to argue with Berhalter's assessment. This is a team that found a lot of success quickly over the last two years including an appearance in the MLS Cup Final last December. Since then, the Black & Gold have struggled offensively and sit near the bottom of the Eastern Conference.
This is not the team fans anticipated for 2016 and it's not what the players expected of themselves.
"There's a lot of lessons to be learned here and I think each and every one of us has to look at ourselves and take accountability for what happened," midfielder and vice captain Wil Trapp said. "But at the end of the day, we're a team and we've got to stick collectively. It's about relying on each other and believing in each other and I think it was a little bit strained there at the end in terms of how we tried to close the game out."
This team, one picked by many to challenge for the Supporter's Shield and make another deep playoff run, is facing some serious questions. Not only did the Black & Gold let two points slip away, but it became apparent that the locker room is not as picturesque as it once was - or as we were led to believe.
Despite the issues, captain Michael Parkhurst believes his side will be fine.
"It's always testing when you're not getting the results that you want," he said. "Winning cures all and right now we're not winning enough games. We've had streaks where we haven't won games and we've been tested before and we'll come out of this fine."
Most of the players attempted to stay positive as the team looks to work its way out of this current funk, but no one was denying Berhalter's assertion of an immature performance.
"I think he's spot on," Trapp said of Berhalter's comments. "You're up 4-1 in the [53rd] minute and penalty call, two minutes later another goal, you can't let that happen. In the last two minutes of the game we gave up another one on a set piece and I think that comes down to focus and concentration."
One immature performance isn't cause for alarm, but several begins to be. Columbus has given up late goals in four matches this season that has cost the club points. The offense, which was the strength of the team a year ago, is inconsistent at best.
The MLS season is a long one and there's plenty of time to right the ship, but these players need to take a long look in the mirror and get things sorted out before the mountain becomes too big to climb.