Crew battles back to earn much-needed win
Throughout the Crew's tough recent stretch of games, Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter has been a calm, steady presence. Never one to get too high or too low, Berhalter continually reinforced that the club was working towards its goals and wanted to put in a good performance with each match, regardless of what had happened in the previous one.
Suffice it to say that after Saturday's streak-snapping victory, the Crew boss kept true to that calming tone, but did admit that his team needed a win against Montreal.
"They needed a win for their confidence," said Berhalter. "I think that guys were down on themselves, down on their performances, and they needed that to validate it. It is big, but you're not going to get me to say it's bigger than other ones, because it's not. We move forward and we focus on next week."
It's a good attitude to have in the midst of what has become an increasingly tight race in the Eastern Conference. The Crew is now on 23 points, still right on the cusp of a playoff spot. Although maintaining focus is a priority, the victory tonight, at home, lifts a huge burden off of the club's back.
"It felt great," said Bernardo Anor, whose two goals leveled and then won the match. "Finally, getting back on track, it's something important that we have been looking for for a quite a long time already. We have deserved this result since a couple of games ago. Unfortunately, we haven't been able to get it. Tonight, in front of a great crowd, we did a great job. There are still plenty of things that we have to work on, but overall I'm very happy for the team's performance and the result."
Adding to the significance was the way that the Black & Gold won while having to fight back after Marco Di Vaio's opening strike.
"I think we actually get more benefit out of a win like this than if we had come out and won 3-0 or 4-0," said defender Michael Parkhurst. "It brings a team together when you have to grind out a win like that, especially the way things have been going for us lately."
"That could have been a bigger win than if you would have won 3-0, for what it does for the group to have to grind that game out at the end," added Berhalter. "It wasn't pretty. Montreal was throwing a lot of numbers forward, a lot of longballs into the box, and we stayed strong. That's a good effort by the group."
Ever-focused, the Crew now heads into the next League match on the road against a slumping New England Revolution side eager to turn one win into a winning streak.
"It's absolutely important for us, especially for the team's psyche, just to get that winning feeling back, that belief back," said Parkhurst. "Hopefully we can start a streak here – a good streak. We need it to start at some point. Hopefully this will catapult us."