Monday, July 13, 2015

For the Crew SC, a course correction is needed

photo by Greg Bartram/USA Today Sports
COLUMBUS, OHIO – After traveling north to land of poutine and the majestic St. Lawrence river, the Crew SC returned to Columbus with nothing to show for their effort except a bad case of indigestion that a 3-nil thrashing will induce.

While it can be spun that they haven’t lost a game in some time, their 6-6-7 record after 19 games is less than awe-inspiring. They currently sit 5th and mired in a logjam of four teams with 24 points in the Eastern Conference. This does not mean that they are good, but merely that the mid-table of the East is really not that good.

The Crew SC’s run-of-form has been run-of-the-mill since mid-May. While they may yet pick it up as the latter half of the season unfolds, that kind of effort will most likely yield the same result as last year… a Round 1 exit from the playoffs.

Twenty months into Gregg Berhalter’s tenure as Sporting Director/Head Coach, it is evident that consistency on the pitch is lacking at this point. His midfield is not up-to-par and the defense porous, as evidenced by the consistent early goals allowed. The team is taking on his personality, showing little emotion.

And yet, he says many of the same things after each loss. “It puts us in a difficult position,” Berhalter said after the 3-0 loss in Montreal. “Going down 2-0 that early in the game… From us, it wasn’t good. It wasn’t an acceptable performance.”

Losing should never be acceptable, no matter how well the team may play. The goal should not be to simply make the playoffs. The goal should always be the ultimate quest… winning the MLS Cup.

The Crew SC’s six wins equate to one win in March, two in April and one win each in May, June and July. This is not a recipe for success, for as time goes on, the stronger teams will rise to the occasion and become powerhouses as the regular season draws to its conclusion.

Competition breeds fierce and competitive play among players for time in the starting XI. The Crew SC do not have that ingredient. There is complacency and a steadfast knowledge that the players’ positions on the roster are safe.

In short, the team has no depth. And no amount of speculation over which player might be enticed into donning the canary kit will change that. The long view must be taken with the goal being that of making the team consistently better. Change must begin to take place now in order for the team to be competitive in the future.

The problems faced by the Crew SC may be many, but they are not insurmountable. But in order to fix those issues, they must admit first that there exists a problem. For that is the path to enlightenment and building a winning culture with the walls of the locker room.

For the Crew SC, that time is now.

No comments: