After their most successful consecutive matches of the season, the Columbus Crew followed up two 2-home victories with a 4-0 blowout loss to Supporters’ Shield leaders Real Salt Lake Saturday in what was the team’s worst loss of the 2013 season.
With their first bit of momentum heading into the match, Crew players once again found it difficult to be positive after the match.
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“It’s definitely a tough one to swallow,” defender Chad Barson said after the match. “We could have played better all around. Especially after winning two games in a row, to have a performance like this is disappointing.”
The match also saw captain and designated player Federico Higuain earn a game suspension from yellow card accumulation, an added game for a red card given late in the match. Higuian has been the team’s only offensive threat in recent weeks, and Head Coach Robert Warzycha says it will be a challenge to fill the void left by his absence.
“With two games coming up at home, it’s a big loss for us,” Warzycha said. “He’s our engine, he’s scoring goals, and unfortunately for us he got the second yellow in the end; even the first one put him over the top. That’s a big loss.”
For Warzycha, the loss isn’t just goal scoring, but calming the team and making decisions on the ball.
“It’s absorbing the pressure. He’s the guy that all the eyes are looking at, and he gives the other guys some freedom. Not only the playing ability, but he knows when to keep the ball and when to play. He’s busy, so you’re going to miss him.”
Young midfielder Wil Trapp will need to step up in Higuain’s absence, and Warzycha says that he must play better than his showing in Salt Lake City.
“I think [Trapp] can probably see what he has to do better. He’s going to learn next time he plays those guys what he can expect,” Warzycha said. “He can do everything better. Especially passing. We were losing the ball. It’s not about them passing, it’s about us. Every time we got the ball, we just gave it away. We talk about switching the point of attack, and that’s something we didn’t do. Next time we go on the field, he knows that the way we played last time wasn’t right, so he has to do something different.”
For Trapp, the match was the toughest of his young career, and one that he can learn more from than recent victories.
“I think definitely I can learn from that game. I could have done more communication-wise, and I could have gotten on the ball a little more to calm things down, possession-wise,” he said. “I’m definitely very critical of myself in that game. Each game you have to take bits and pieces and learn from it. You can learn the most from a loss. You want to learn from wins, but sometimes it doesn’t go your way.”
For Trapp, it’s clear what the team needs to do moving forward, and how they can rebound from the loss in Saturday’s matchup against the traveling Seattle Sounders.
“Obviously we have to be more stout defensively. We have to be more organized. We can’t be giving up four goals in any game and expect to win,” he said. “And I think we need to generate more chances. We need to move off the ball more and get guys in good spots where we can be more dangerous.”
Defender Josh Williams was less positive after the match, but had a concise explanation of what the team needs to do moving forward.
“We need to prepare hard. We need to watch film. We need to go hard at practice. We need to totally regroup. We need to get this out of our mind.”