There could be a few personnel moves when the Crew play Saturday at Philadelphia (3:30 pm ET; NBCSN) but don’t expect major tactical changes after last week’s humbling 4-1 loss to New York.
“You can’t panic,” coach Robert Warzycha. “We’re four games into the season. We have to continue what we’re doing. We have a lot of new players. Compared to New York’s team we really have a lot of new players.
“We need the time just to figure it out,” he added. “A game like this, sometimes you need to get your [butt] kicked because then you look back and say, ‘Hey, what happened?’ and every individual player can see the play and try to do better.”
His point is that despite some injuries and the introduction of three new starters the Crew are 2-2-0 and have split two away games after winning only four on the road in 2011.
Midfielder Eddie Gaven said the theme this week was to look at what went wrong when the Red Bulls stormed to a 3-0 lead in the first 40 minutes, then move forward.
“Sometimes after a game like that there’s the temptation to throw it all out, so to speak, and feel like you have to totally start over from scratch. But I don’t think that’s the case,” he said. “It was one of those games we didn’t play well but that doesn’t necessarily mean we have a bad team.”
Gaven could take part in one of several alterations against the Union. He is expected to move from the right flank to the left for Bernardo Anor while rookie Ethan Finlay slides into Gaven’s former spot.
Finlay and Dilly Duka came off the bench against New York to provide a second-half spark, but Duka will miss Saturday’s match because of recurring hamstring problems.
“I don’t want to play differently,” Warzycha said. “I want to have more energy on the field. I want to have as much energy as we had in Toronto [1-0 win on March 31].”
Another move could be the return of Danny O’Rourke from injuries to replace center back Eric Gehrig. The other option is O’Rourke moving into the defensive midfield spot held by rookie Kirk Urso, but Urso has done well on restarts and set up Chad Marshall’s goal versus the Red Bulls.
This week’s training sessions have also been heavy on video and emphasizing communication on the field.
“It was not at our level last game,” defender Sebastian Miranda said. “We know that. It’s a time we can say, ‘That was bad. Okay, we can change our way to play.’”
Gaven pointed to several keys in order to beat Philadelphia.
“It’s getting back to the basics – hard work, playing good defense, going at guys on offense, putting balls in the box and hopefully putting balls in the back of the net,” he said.
Warzycha added another, “We have to win the one against one battles. Individual mistakes are what can hurt you. They did against New York.”