Picture Credits: Columbus Crew
It was a game that almost felt like a must win. Yes, it is only seven games into the season, but the quicker that Columbus can break this three-game skid, the quicker they can get their confidence back. After Saturday evenings loss, Columbus will be on a 270+ minute streak without a goal. That is three matches, plus some time that they have not found the back of the net.
Columbus would start the game brightly, especially Steven Moriera, who looked lively to start the game. But, Columbus would have nothing to show for it. Orlando City first broke the deadlock in the 37th minute when Rodrigo Schlegel tapped the ball into the net after the ball bounced around the box. After a lengthy VAR check, the goal was deemed onside, and thus, was given. The rest of the first half looked like the Crew were stunned, and couldn't wait to get to the half.
After halftime, Columbus again started the half brightly, as a Lucas Zelerayan strike in the 48th minute forced a great save from City goalkeeper Pedro Gallese. Less than five minutes later, Orlando striker Ercan Kara got the ball in the boxed, turned brilliantly, and fired the ball into the top right corner. That goal further depleted the Crew, and it was something that Columbus would not be able to come back from.
It has been a frustrating three-game stretch for the Black and Gold. "It seems like every half chance the opponent gets, it ends up in the back of the net", head coach Caleb Porter said post-game. "It seems every chance we get doesn't go in." It is not for a lack of creating chances, as Columbus has created more dangerous chances in the three-game skid. It come down to two things; execution of chances, and the psychology of the team.
Caleb Porter touched on the psychology of the team after the game. "Right now, the psychology of things need to turn", Porter said about Columbus getting out of the slump they are in. "It is already a very difficult sport, and this game can be very cruel, and it eats up weak teams, weak players and weak coaches." The biggest thing that Porter and the other players talked about was just gaining the confidence, and keeping that confidence high. "There's 27 games left. We have a lot of time to turn this around and dig ourselves out of it", Porter said referring to the slump being earlier in the season, rather than later.
Photo Credits: Columbus Crew
Does Not Feel Like Last Season
A losing drought, and a scoring drought is not new to the Columbus Crew. Last season, the Crew lost six straight games, during a playoff run when they needed the points the most. This, does not feel like last year. The performances are different", Crew midfielder Darlington Nagbe said about why this team will not repeat last year. " "In my opinion we should still be undefeated... I believe we are a great team, if not one of the best teams", Nagbe said.
Teams Are Respecting The Columbus Chances
It feels like teams are playing more defensive against Columbus this year. That was apparent against Orlando City, as City did not start star striker Alexandre Pato. That could be because teams are starting to respect the Columbus attack. "Every team that plays us, respects us" Crew midfielder Artur said about teams playing more defensive against them. Artur, along with Nagbe and Porter, all realize what needs to be fixed, and what needs to be done.
The Columbus Crew will open up their Lamar Hunt Open Cup account as they take on Detroit City in the third round. Columbus will travel to historic Keyworth Stadium in Hamtramck, Michigan. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m.
Columbus will then travel to Children's Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kansas on Saturday, April 23, with kickoff scheduled for 8:30 p.m. EST.