"Our fans deserve better": Crew coach Porter blames individual mistakes for second straight home loss

There hasn’t been much of an advantage to the Columbus Crew's new sparkling home field since Lower.com Field opened last month. In five games at the new downtown stadium, the Crew are 1W-2L-2D and have lost back-to-back home games, including a 3-2 defeat to Atlanta United on Saturday night.

Overall, it’s three consecutive defeats for the defending MLS Cup champions, who sit just above the playoff line in the Eastern Conference with 16 games left in the regular season. 

“Our fans deserve better,” Crew coach Caleb Porter said after the latest defeat. “And we’re going to make it right.”

Columbus have leaked 11 goals in three straight defeats and Porter said “individual mistakes” are to blame.

Against an Atlanta team that snapped a 12-match winless streak, the Crew fell behind inside five minutes and then conceded a pair of penalty kicks.

“It's very difficult when the first time they’re around our goal it’s in the back of the net,” Porter said. "The second two were penalties. In watching them, I think they are penalties. Maybe a bit harsh, but we’re kind of stabbing in, not moving our feet.”

“It’s individual mistakes and moments and that’s what we have to clean up,” he added. “I think a lot of it is psychological at this point.”

While most of those in attendance Saturday night left Lower.com Field disappointed, Porter also wanted to emphasize the positives. He said he couldn’t fault his team’s effort, with the Crew fighting until the end and very nearly scoring a stoppage-time equalizer.

“There are a lot more positives in the game than you might think,” Porter said. "Myself, the players, the coaching staff, we're not going to lose sight of that.”

But there’s also the reality that the Crew head into Week 19 having won just twice in their last 10 matches and each of their last three losses have come against Eastern Conference foes.

The Crew close out this month with road games against Chicago Fire FC (Aug. 15) and the New York Red Bulls (Aug. 18) before home tilts against the Seattle Sounders (Aug. 21) and FC Cincinnati (August 27) in the next Hell is Real derby encounter.