Crew aims to rediscover confidence ahead of quick turnaround
While the atmosphere in the Crew locker room following Wednesday evening's match against Sporting Kansas City was reserved, the words spoken by the Black & Gold were optimistic and forward-thinking. With the Montreal Impact visiting Crew Stadium in just three days, they had to be. After all, the MLS schedule is back in full-swing, and although Benny Feilhaber's late strike was heartbreaking, the Black & Gold have another match in short order.
"I think that we need to get our confidence back as a group," said Crew Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter. "You can see in the first half that guys weren't confident. That's what needs to improve, because they're good players. When they're playing their best, they can be a very competitive team. I think we just need to get the guys confident. That’s part of our job: to build them up and get them to where they need to be for Saturday."
After Saturday's match in New York, Berhalter was adamant in saying that he wanted his team to forget about it as soon as possible and move on to the next one. He offered a slightly different opinion after Wednesday evening's meeting with Sporting, saying that it was a game his growing team could learn from.
"You look at a lot of these plays: Wil picks up his second yellow in the 89th minute. We can learn from that and he can learn from that. There are some other plays that we just need to get better on. I think this is a good learning experience. I think that you talk about tempo, you talk about playing at home and you talk about movement – it wasn't there. In the first half, it wasn't there. Like I said, that we can learn from."
Now, the challenge is for Berhalter and his players to regroup quickly ahead of hosting Montreal on Saturday.
"You can't dwell on this game too much now," said Ethan Finlay. "Two bad results; we obviously maybe didn't learn from our first result, but we have to win on Saturday. We have to come out and put a good step forward in the East and start winning some games."
There are two ways to look at recovering from a heartbreaking loss. The first school of thought is that a quick turnaround presents an opportunity to erase the loss with a strong performance. The other is that time off allows for a mental rejuvenation. Goalkeeper Steve Clark believes that the former option is best and thinks it could help his team against Montreal.
"We all want another shot at the game," said Clark. "If we get three points out of Saturday's game, then things can turn around quickly in this sport."
Despite the loss, the Crew's mental state is staying strong.
"Frustrated. Very disappointed," said Finlay, when asked to describe the mindset about the team. "But, I think we have faith. I think we believe in Gregg. We believe in this system. We believe in each other. Those are things that will take us a long way in the end. There are still a lot of games. We could win every game out from here and we'd be talking about being first in the East, and that's possible for this group.
"We just have to get together, put our minds to it and play as at team."