COLUMBUS, Ohio – On the heels of their first road win in 2016, Columbus Crew SC had a chance to build momentum from their home turf Wednesday night.
But instead of capitalizing on a night when the teams they were chasing for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot couldn’t find a win, Columbus gave up yet another late goal to lose to the Philadelphia Union for the third time this season.
“The first words out of my mouth were, ‘We let ourselves down,’” Crew SC head coach Gregg Berhalter said of his post-match talk with his players. “Philly is a good team, but it was going to be a difficult game, and these are the games you need to win.”
After trailing 1-0, Crew SC found a 73rd-minute equalizer from Adam Jahn that seemed like their opportunity to turn the tide and, at minimum, record their seventh straight home draw for a much-needed point.
But just 63 seconds later, the Union promptly took the kickoff the distance to give Keegan Rosenberry the go-ahead goal that Berhalter called a “tough one to swallow.”
“When you get the momentum there and you’re in the position you’re in and you score a goal, to me, the next step is, ‘We’re going for the second one. We’re getting after this thing,’” he said. “The mentality and the ferociousness needs to be there. And then they dribble through our entire team and score a goal.”
Steve Clark was on the same page as his coach. The Columbus goalkeeper agreed that the team “let ourselves down” and had very little to offer in terms of how the club can improve, admitting players are “very frustrated.”
“We’re working very hard; we have the whole team working,” he said. “But we have to bring it on match day. These 90 minutes are everything.”
Berhalter said his team didn’t “embrace that challenge” of playing a good team, adding they were too easily frustrated and impatient. And he stressed the word “accountability,” as he has multiple times this season, suggesting that none of his players stepped up.
“You’re getting the guys to understand what each play means and what the execution looks like to win games and what the execution looks like when you lose games,” he said. “Guys need to step up. You need to step up and make plays; that’s what this league is about. It’s guys making plays at the right time. And when they can dribble through the whole team, it’s a number of guys not making a play.”
Crew SC now sit tied for last place in MLS with just 23 points on the season. They are the only team in the league to have just four wins.