Sunday, May 28, 2017

Rd 14. 5-0 Loss is... notable

The inconsistency continues for Columbus as they suffer the worst loss in team history to a red-hot Toronto FC side.

Anytime there is a loss like this, you need to ask questions. Did the team give up? Is Toronto just that much better? Was this on the coach? Was it on the players? All of that sort of stuff. Unfortunately, when you lose like this, the answer to most of the questions is "YES."

It starts with the coach (and sporting director), however. There are two clear things happening at once right now that contributed to this horrifying result.

1. Tinkering. With formation and line-up selection. After three years of basically the same approach and lineup, Berhalter has been toying with a few more ideas and trying to plug in new players.

2. Mix of players. This one is on the entire staff - but ultimately comes down to Anthony Precourt. After a couple years of reshaping players he didn't sign, we are now seeing a true "New Crew" team. 2014-15? Not his signings. A strongly bonded core group of guys whose potential was unlocked. 2016-17? Some of the parts are still there from 2014-15 (Ethan Finlay, Justin Meram, Wil Trapp, Federico Higuain) but for the most part, this is Berhalter's group. And it's turning into a lumbering Frankenstein of sorts.

Summary: Multiple changes in approach and a lumpy, disconnected group of players.

Justin Meram had some sort of player speak quote after the game about "a loss is a loss, just one of 34." And, for once, I agree. It's a bad loss, but it's MLS regular season. The result, itself, doesn't mean shit. What does matter is their current mentality. Are the coaches concerned? Are players starting to worry about the season?

Whenever there is a bad result like this, there is a reason. More often than not we, the public, don't know what the issue is. But over the years I've learned that often it comes down to the leadership. Coaching. Something they did this week just didn't work and it fell apart.

This team is going the wrong way as far as results. This loss is bad. The issues are not easily fixed. This will be an inconsistent team for the rest of the year.

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