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Zack Steffen's return fails to bring answers for slumping Columbus Crew SC

CARSON, Calif. — Zack Steffen's return from a knee injury failed to protect Columbus Crew SC from a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of the LA Galaxy at the StubHub Center on Saturday night. In the aftermath, Crew SC are left looking for answers to correct their current form, which has seen them win just one of their last seven MLS matches.

“I think that it wasn’t a good night for us, and it was a very good night for the Galaxy, so they deserve the congratulations,” Crew SC coach Gregg Berhalter said after the game. “For us, it’s about improving and getting better.”

Steffen's return marked just his second start in six for his club side, most recently sitting out two games with his injury, and previously missing two more matches earlier in June while on duty with the US national team.

It was only two months ago when Steffen helped Columbus preserve five consecutive shutouts. But they've conceded six goals in his last two games between the pipes, and in Saturday's game Steffen said it was merely a matter of coming up short in crucial moments.

“I think we just didn’t make the plays that we needed to,” Steffen said. “It felt good being back there, playing behind them. I think we just didn’t — myself included — we didn’t make the plays that we needed to make to win the game.”

Steffen's insertion for Jon Kempin was one of three changes to the starting XI from the previous weekend's 2-1 win over Real Salt Lake, with defenders Josh Williams and Lalas Abubakar returning to the fold in place of Gaston Sauro and Jonathan Mensah.

After beating RSL following a five-match winless stretch, Saturday's performances rebuffs any ideas that Columbus had solved what has been ailing them of late, though it might not provide a whole lot of teachable moments either.

“[We need to work on] getting back to basics, communication and moving the back line,” Columbus defender Hector Jimenez explained. “It’s one of those games where you just try to forget about it and get back to work.”