Columbus Crew coach Caleb Porter insists his team do not have time to dwell on yet another defeat as they prepare to quickly get back on the horse against the New York Red Bulls.
Defending MLS Cup champions Columbus suffered an eighth defeat out of their last nine games as they went down 1-0 at Inter Miami on Saturday.
The defeat has left them in 10th in the Eastern Conference, four points off a playoff spot with time running out in the regular season.
“There’s a lot of things we can hang our heads on and feel sorry for ourselves about, but I think this is one that our guys need to take the positives of playing a very, very good team – a very talented team – on the road and having the better of it,” Porter said after Saturday’s loss.
“We don’t have time to be frustrated or have any negativity. We have two days to get ready for a home game against New York Red Bulls.
“The results went our way a little bit, and if we win this New York game, we’re right there.”
A win would see the Crew go right back in contention for a postseason place, but a defeat would see the Red Bulls move to within a point of Columbus.
The Red Bulls took the lead against D.C. United on Saturday, but were pegged back to a 1-1 draw.
“The result give us not the right feeling,” coach Gerhard Struber said.
“We expect the win. We expect three points. Right now, it’s not easy to pick up the points that we want for the playoffs.
“We have to accept it, and we cannot cry about it. We have to look forward and we have to create always a good mindset – a positive, optimistic mindset.”
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Columbus Crew – Gyasi Zardes
By his own lofty standards, it has been a poor season for Gyasi Zardes, who has managed just four goals in 2021. The 30-year-old had a team-leading two shots after he came on from the bench against Miami, and perhaps he is the experienced man Porter should turn to in the run-in.
New York Red Bulls – Dru Yearwood
Dru Yearwood’s opener for the Red Bulls on Saturday was not just his first goal for the club, or even in MLS, but in senior, professional football altogether. The 21-year-old midfielder has finally broken his duck, though, and will now be looking to keep up the scoring form and help the Red Bulls’ playoff push.
KEY OPTA FACTS
– The Red Bulls recorded a 1-0 home win over the Crew on August 18 but are winless in eight straight visits to Columbus (D3 L5, including playoffs). New York’s last win at the Crew was a 2-1 victory in 2015 with current Crew forward Bradley Wright-Phillips finding the net for the Red Bulls.
– The Crew have lost eight of their last nine matches, including two straight after defeating rivals FC Cincinnati on August 27. The Crew had just nine defeats in their previous 43 matches in all MLS competitions dating back to the start of last season (W22 D12).
– The Red Bulls have won just one of their last 10 matches (D4 L5), though that win was a 1-0 victory over Columbus on August 18. New York has scored more than one goal just once in that span, and that came in a 3-2 defeat to the Revolution on July 31.
– Columbus has started slowly this season, scoring just one goal in the opening 15 minutes of matches in 2021. Only the Whitecaps (0) have fewer.
– Patryk Klimala, who set up Dru Yearwood’s goal in the Red Bulls’ 1-1 draw with D.C. on Saturday, has been involved in six of New York’s last 10 goals (3 goals, 3 assists) dating back to the beginning of July.