Once a fortress, MAPFRE Stadium has become a site of disappointment for Columbus Crew SC.
Following Saturday night’s 2-2 draw with Orlando City, during which the Black & Gold held a 2-0 lead in 64th minute, Columbus now have seven home ties and ended a three-match home stand the team labeled as vital with only three points.
“The first half was fantastic, really good performance,” head coach Gregg Berhalter said. “In the second half we allowed them too much space, we weren’t shifting quick enough, we didn’t put enough pressure on the ball and they can hurt you. Overall, extremely disappointed with the effort in the second half.”
Throughout much of the year, Columbus have played good enough to win games but found ways to turn victories into draws and draws into losses. After failing to earn a win in eight matches and putting in a lackluster second half, Crew SC are in a tough position, tied for the second-worse record in MLS.
“We’re going to have to ask some hard questions in the next couple days and hopefully come up with some good answers,” a frustrated Berhalter said. “Because up 2-0, coming out in the second, it should be burning. Every duel, we should be going in like it’s our last one. We have a chance now to start rising, and I didn’t see that and that’s a problem.”
According to goalkeeper Steve Clark, it’s time for players to look in the mirror and determine what they are willing to do for the sake of the club and the season. Columbus have three of their next five matches at home, but only those three games remain at the friendly confines the rest of the year. The chance to turn things around and return to the MLS Cup Playoffs is slowly dwindling.
“We’re not going to give up,” Berhalter said. “Seven points back now, we’re going to keep fighting. I guarantee you you’ll see guys on the field that are going to keep fighting. We’re not giving up.”