Crew coach Robert Warzycha stayed in Chicago an extra day after Friday’s loss to the Fire to watch the Polish national team – for whom he played 47 matches from 1988 to 1995 – hold the US 2-2 Saturday at Soldier Field.
He's probably the only Crew even remotely thinking about soccer over the weekend.
After an arduous stretch of four games in 10 days was capped with a 2-0 defeat that extended a winless streak to 0-3-2, the team won’t meet again until Tuesday at the Obetz training facility.
“I don’t ever remember playing that many games in that many days and have to travel to three of them,” Warzycha said. “If I could, I would give a week off.”
That’s not possible with the penultimate match of the regular season next Saturday at Toronto FC.
“Right now, the focus is on righting the ship and coming in Tuesday and putting our nose to the grindstone and making sure the next time we take the field the performance is right, the result is right,” goalkeeper William Hesmer said.
The Crew (13-8-7) went from serious contender for an unprecedented third straight Supporters’ Shield to fifth in the overall standings. Columbus have clinched second in the Eastern Conference but were knocked from the top spot last week by New York.
“We have to rest the body, rest the mind,” defender Gino Padula said.
Warzycha attributed fatigue for some of the mental breakdowns and sloppy finishing against the Fire.
“We’re just too tired," he said. "We’re not thinking. It’s the little things. We had a good look in front and guys missed the goal by 10 yards. That’s from the physical and mental toll.”
Among the top teams, Seattle have also been in the Champions League but were all but eliminated after three of six group stage games.
Real Salt Lake have done a good job of balancing the league and their five CCL games to date but weren’t burdened with a US Open Cup semifinal or last week’s title game, as was the case for Columbus and Seattle.
FC Dallas, Los Angeles and New York? They’ve been on easy street by comparison, playing only MLS games the past two months.
DEFICIT SPENDING: Since preserving a 1-0 lead for the final 67 minutes at D.C. United on Sept. 4, the Crew have not led for a minute of the past five MLS games.
They have been down one or two goals for approximately 50 percent (223) of the 450 minutes.
The Crew have been tied for 149 minutes (33 percent), trailed by one for 152 (34 percent), down two for 71 (16 percent), faced a three-goal deficit for 63 (14 percent) and for 15 minutes (4 percent) trailed 4-0.
Meanwhile, they're 12-0-1 when scoring first.