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Robinho celebrates first assist in challenging conditions

The Brazilian winger struggled with the waterlogged field of MAPFRE Stadium, but managed to help the team to bounce back.

Columbus Crew SC winger Robinho has been exposed to a lot of new things recently. A new country, a new city, a new club, a new league, a new language and new teammates, just to name a few. The list kept growing on Saturday when he helped the Black & Gold to defeat reigning MLS Cup winners Atlanta United 2-0 at MAPFRE Stadium.

The match was played under really extreme conditions as a strong rain and very low temperatures hit Columbus during the first half. The match was interrupted for almost an hour and after it returned, the field was waterlogged. The final minutes were really challenging, as passing and dribbling the ball became hard tasks due to the numerous ponds formed in the field.

Used to play at higher temperatures and sunny weather in his native Brazil, the 24-year-old winger admitted he was very uncomfortable with the scenario he faced. Not surprisingly, all 22 players on the field, the ones in the bench and both coaching staffs immediately sprinted to the lockers room after the final whistle.

“I had never seen anything like that before,” the winger told Massive Report after the game. “We were talking during the break and I couldn’t believe when they said we would return. It was really tough to make plays and in the second half all we were thinking was that we didn’t want to lose possession in our defensive area. I’m glad the referee didn’t add any extra time in the end. We were all freezing out there.”

However, not even the unfavorable conditions were enough to slow Robinho down. The Brazilian had his struggles, as anyone at the stadium on that night, but managed to put his name in the box score by recording his first assist with the Crew after the fed Gyasi Zardes for the team’s second goal shortly after play resumed.

Robinho, who was making just his third start with the Crew, also got close to scoring his first goal for the club, but he his right-footed shot hit the post of Brad Guzan’s goal in the second half.

“I’m working hard to help the team, especially in the offensive third with goals and assists, that’s what I’m here for,” he explained. “I hope it was the first of many assists and that now I get to score a goal and hopefully several other after this first one too. I had a good chance, but I was kind of freezing out there, couldn’t really do exactly what I wanted and the ball hit the post, but I’m sure I’ll have better luck next time.”

This past week, however, Robinho probably worked even harder than previous ones. Head coach Caleb Porter described Wednesday’s training session as Robinho’s “best since his arrival” and said that he had noticed the Brazilian with a chip on his shoulder after the team’s disappointing performance in Philadelphia.

The winger confirmed the coach’s assumptions and said that the setback against the Union made not only him, but the entire group, focus on bouncing back in front of their home fans.

“We didn’t play well as a team in Philadelphia and I spoke to Pablo (Moreira, assistant coach) about it,” he commented. “I knew I didn’t do well and I wanted to work during the week so I could play better and help the team. I’m very pleased by the way we performed and I hope that now it just gets better. The feeling of getting the result you were looking for after a good week in training is great.”