To get the first result in a month and a half, the Black & Gold had to come from behind twice, including a stoppage time equalizer. And now Crew fans are asking, is this the breakthrough they’ve been looking for?
In May, the supporters thought they saw it when the Crew took down Western Conference giants, the LA Galaxy, in a midweek showdown. However, the team couldn’t keep the momentum going just three days later when they fell to Major League Soccer leaders, Los Angeles Football Club.
In early June, the Crew got a point against New York City FC, only to go into a three-week break and a period full of international call-ups and injuries.
Now, with key players back and some new faces joining the fold, is this finally the midseason turnaround?
Head coach Caleb Porter is very pleased with his team’s performance in their past two matches, specifically in the second halves. Against Chicago, he said the players showed a different mentality.
“We obviously came from behind twice. It would’ve been really easy to kind of let it fizzle out,” said Porter. “I saw a stronger mentality and a lot of hunger, which for us to lose this many games and still keep fighting and keep swinging and show the hunger that we’re showing, that’s not always easy.”
Porter was sure to point out that having guys who can come off the bench and make an impact was the reason they were able to pull out the result. And as the team continues to utilize this transfer window, Porter will look to build even better depth and quality.
Porter called the last game “another brick in the wall,” a wall that is not going to be built overnight. With all the transfers and changes in the lineup, chemistry and building on momentum takes time. However, the recent result gives the team hope.
Captain Wil Trapp agrees.
“I think it’s a process thing,” he said. “It’s maintaining our process; understanding that if we do everything we possibly can from a tactical, technical, preparation standpoint and then execute on the field, surrender the outcome, and I think the outcome will take care of itself in that regard.”
The showdown with Montreal on Saturday evening is the team’s last home game until Aug. 10, meaning the Crew need to take advantage of playing at MAPFRE Stadium before heading out on the road, a hard place to get points in MLS. However, Columbus has struggled to get points at home this season, with a record of 4-5-2.
Trapp says the key is for the team to keep intensity and the level of execution high.
“Ultimately our belief in taking our chances and maintaining a good shape and stopping them from creating chances will be huge,” said the midfielder.
With playoffs looming and only five home games left for the Crew, a win Saturday is almost essential. Porter pointed out that momentum does not come from just one game. He hopes Wednesday’s result can build a sense of belief in what the team has been working towards for so long.
“There are times when, at the end of the day, soccer kicks in and soccer is a tough sport,” said Porter. “It’s way more difficult too when you’re not getting results, so can you build that belief now over time? And I think that’s where we’re at.”
Columbus and Montreal kick off at 7:30 p.m. ET on Saturday for the second time this season. The two teams last met in April and the Impact took down the Crew 1-0. This happened to be the beginning of the losing streak that has plagued the team for so long. Now the Black & Gold looks to end the slide for good against the team that started it.
Porter said simply, “From here on out, five home games, let’s win them all.”