COLUMBUS, Ohio – After a 2-1 loss in Columbus Saturday night, New York City FC coach Dome Torrent took plenty of blame, saying that it was his responsibility alone to find answers for the team that has won just one game in six MLS matches.
But Torrent also enthusiastically credited his opponent, Columbus Crew SC boss Gregg Berhalter.
Unprompted, Torrent said Columbus had outplayed his team in both matchups this year, including a 2-0 victory for NYCFC on July 14 in Yankee Stadium.
“They were able to play better than us in two games – not just here, even in Yankee Stadium,” he said.
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Torrent said he likes how Columbus plays, and said he admired Berhalter’s work.
“They have a clever coach,” he said. “I love this coach. I think he’s one of the best coaches in our conference, is my opinion. … They play really well, and I think they are a candidate to win MLS.”
That’s high praise coming from Torrent, who was known as the right-hand man of Pep Guardiola, who won the English Premier League last year with Manchester City, and has titles with Bayern Munich and Barcelona on his resume.
The Spaniard has head-coaching experience himself, having helmed Palomos and Girona in Spain before joining Guardiola’s staff in 2007 and eventually taking over the head-coaching job at NYCFC in June after Patrick Vieira left for OGC Nice.
Torrent isn’t the first to praise Berhalter’s possession-oriented, attacking style.
Vieira, Atlanta head coach Tata Martino and former Red Bulls head man Jesse Marsch have all shared their appreciation for how his Columbus teams have played, and Berhalter’s name has been regularly included in the mix for next US men’s national team manager.
When told that Berhalter had been mentioned on that shortlist, Torrent congratulated him and said he hadn’t heard, but reiterated his respect for the Columbus coach.
“I didn’t know, but I’m very happy for him,” he said. “I think about him as a clever coach. They like to play good football. [He] is a brave coach. … I don’t know the other coaches. But I like, especially, this coach.”