COLUMBUS, Ohio - According to Gregg Berhalter, the Columbus Crew "just need to believe in themselves."
And after watching his team squander chance after chance before finally clawing back with a late equalizer in a 1-1 tie against Real Salt Lake Wednesday, Berhalter said he had mixed emotions after the match.
"You end up being really proud of them the way they fought back and they were determined to get something out of the game," he told reporters after the game. "But the other side is you're disappointed we were in that position in the first place. We're on the sideline celebrating a game-tying goal, but we should have been in a different position."
Even the goal-scorer Ethan Finlay said he couldn't be too happy with his goal.
"It feels good, but obviously [we're] frustrated with the result," he said. "It's a team game, and obviously we tried to do our best to get the win tonight for the team. I think we're all frustrated here, despite the goal, that we didn't get a win."
Berhalter said the team didn't start the game with the attitude he had hoped.
"I'm a little disappointed with the urgency in the fist half," he said. "Playing at home, and really wanting to stamp your game on the opponent, really take it to them, we missed that. In the second half, I think it was better."
Even in the second half, it took the Crew until the 88th minute to score against a depleted RSL side, when Finlay -- the hot hand in Columbus at the moment -- notched his third goal in three matches with a terrific chip. And Berhalter said the effort came when his players stopped overthinking it.
"The team doesn't have full confidence right now," he said. "We're lacking a little bit of confidence. And you see when they throw all that out the window and they play, you see how good that group is. And that's what we're expecting out of them."
Finlay agreed with his coach, and said that the team may have been too concerned with RSL, and not concerned enough with their own abilities.
"When you try to break a game down too much and focus too much on another team, you lose sight of what you have to do at your job. I think [Berhalter] stressed that, but tonight we didn't play free enough."
Unfortunately for the Crew, another blow to their confidence could be a prolonged absence for Federico Higuain, who left the game before the half after grabbing his hamstring. While Berhalter wasn't sure what was wrong, he was already confident in ruling him out for Saturday's trip to D.C. United.
"I would expect him to be out on Saturday," he said. "If it wasn't serious, there's no way we get him off that field. This guy loves to be on the field. So my guess is, Saturday, there's no way he's playing."