As the frustrating results continue to pile on top of each other for Columbus Crew SC, manager Caleb Porter believes his team is playing better than the form sheet shows.
After Saturday's 2-0 loss at home to Orlando City SC, during which the visitors had only three shots (all on target), Porter lamented his team not getting rewarded for their effort. He also understands that Columbus still needs to improve inside both penalty areas.
"It’s another game similar to what I’ve said in the past where a lot of good things box to box, but the most important thing is the scoreline," Porter said. "The most important thing is what you do in the box. It comes down to those moments and we’re not scoring goals and we’re giving up goals on three shots. I’ve never been part of a game where we’ve given up three shots and given up two goals."
The Crew are extremely shorthanded of late, with playmaker Federico Higuain out for the season, and the duo of Wil Trapp and Gyasi Zardes on Concacaf Gold Cup duty with the US national team. Additionally, attacker David Accam missed Saturday's game with a hamstring strain, while fullback Harrison Afful served a red-card suspension. Left back Milton Valenzuela remains out with a long-term ACL injury, and goalkeeper Zack Steffen has moved to Manchester City.
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Porter promises moves in the Secondary Transfer Window, but also believes there's enough currently in the dressing room to snap out of a 1-10-1 stretch across their last 12 league games. In fact, he thinks they should've in their last two defeats, to Orlando and in a 1-0 home loss to Sporting Kansas City the week prior.
"What’s disappointing," Porter started, "is that even missing six or seven key guys — and we know we need to sign some guys, too — we’re missing those guys, but we still should’ve won the last two games. [That's] based on what I saw from the opponents and what I saw from us."
How can the errors be fixed? It's just more players making more plays, Porter says.
“It’s the eighth or ninth time I’ve said the same thing to them: Box to box, we were better than them, 100 percent," Porter said. "Stats show that, possession shows that. We should’ve got 22 shots though instead of 11 because we’re in good positions. We’re not getting the right cross — we miss crosses. We’re not getting shots off. It’s individual plays.”