TORONTO – Sometimes the search for answers only returns more questions.
It was one of those nights for Columbus Crew SC on Sunday, as they fell 3-0 to Trillium Cup rivals Toronto FC at BMO Field, relinquishing their grip on the trophy for the second time in three years.
Despite the disappointment, there were few complaints.
“Toronto clearly deserved to win this game,” said head coach Gregg Berhalter in his post-match press conference. “We weren’t threatening enough or moving the ball around enough; our transition wasn’t fast enough … overall disappointment.”
Mired in what is now a nine-match winless run and losing a fourth-straight on their travels, where they are yet to win in 2016, Columbus sought to explain why this season has seen such different results than last year, when they progressed to MLS Cup.
“We had a decent bit of possession, but overall it was unacceptable,” said Crew SC midfielder Wil Trapp. “Three goals conceded … you never want to do that.”
“Tonight clearly wasn’t good enough,” reiterated Berhalter. “We [didn't] deserve to get anything out of that game. Other games this season we played extremely well and could have gotten more, but that’s how soccer goes. I have said this time and time again, 'there’s a very fine line between victory and defeat and sometimes you are on the wrong end of it'. This season more often than not, we've been on the wrong end, even though we've been playing OK.”
Having conceded in the eighth minute through a stroke of chance – or the back of TFC's Tsubasa Endoh as fate would have it – Columbus had several chances to pull themselves level but failed to take them, with Justin Meram twice sending open headers wide.
“Our conversion rate is extremely low... lowest in the league. That certainly has something to do with it,” admitted Berhalter. “But today, we didn't create enough also. It wasn't about conversion, chance creation was poor.”
“We've just got to buy in,” offered Trapp, regarding how to emerge from the current funk. “The biggest thing is everyone believing in each other, the system, and ourselves. It’s a serious challenge mentally and we’ll see if we come out on the right side or not.”