COLUMBUS – Nearly 24 hours later, the anger and disappointment from another early exit in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup was still apparent in Robert Warzycha's voice.
MLSsoccer.com spoke to the Columbus head coach by phone early Wednesday evening following his team's 2-1 defeat Tuesday at home to Dayton, a third-round match that the Crew had well in hand until yielding goals in the 79th and 81st minutes on the Dutch Lions’ first two shots.
It wasn’t as much how it happened – the Crew defense softened after Olman Vargas’ penalty kick in the 64th minute – but why.
“I’m still upset,” Warzycha said. “That’s not going to go away for a while. The problem I had was the team we were defending wanted it more. It was only a handful of guys on our team that wanted it more. That’s the question. Why did their guys want it more than we did, some of the guys? That’s unbelievable.”
“We talked before the game that attitude and everything was going to be the key in a game like this,” he added. “Some of the guys thought they already made it and the game was going to be handed to them on a platter.”
Warzycha did not single out any players in his postgame press conference, but his curt answers during the two-minute briefing left some of the media speculating that he was blaming Julius James, the veteran center back who made his first appearance this season following shoulder surgery in November and a collapsed lung in April.
“We lost the game. He’s the captain, so I don’t have a comment on that," Warzycha said after the game.
Warzycha amended those comments on Wednesday.
“We win as a team. We lose as a team,” he said. “If you lose to the Dayton Lions, a Division 3 team that you are supposed to beat 5-0, I’m not going to comment that he did anything.
“We lost the game. I didn’t mean that he had a bad game. I mean that the team failed to win the game we should have won. That’s where I’m coming from.”
In fact, a day after the defeat he threw kudos James’ way.
“Julius wasn’t the problem, to be honest with you. It’s not his fault we gave up the goals,” Warzycha said. “It’s absolutely not. We had enough chances to put the game away. Everybody was looking at Julius and what I said. You know what? We had 100-percent chances in the first half and more in the second. We had more than enough chances to win.”