There was probably going to be a different look to the Columbus Crew lineup the next time the team took to the field – against Montreal on June 15 – with several players slated to return from injury.
But a dismal effort in Wednesday's 3-0 loss at Philadelphia turned “probably” into “definitely.”
“We made mistakes and we paid a penalty,” Crew coach Robert Warzycha said by phone after the game. “It goes to the passion to some of the guys on the field. There will be some changes.”
It wasn’t so much the defeat - the Crew have won once in the past six games to fall to 4-5-5 - but the manner in which the team responded after Brian Carroll scored a fluky goal in the 25th minute that deflected off Crew defender Eric Gehrig.
“We were kind of shell-shocked,” Gehrig said in a phone interview. “We were in control the first 20 minutes.”
Maybe so, but the next 11 belonged to the Union (6-5-4). Sheanon Williams made it 2-0 in the 29th off a corner kick when he was left unmarked. Two minutes later, Conor Casey took advantage of third grievous turnover to drive the nail into the coffin.
“We started off all right actually, but there was a span there after the first goal where we never really regained our composure and couldn't get back into it,” Crew goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum said to MLSsoccer.com.
“We have to take a lesson from this game: someone has to put their stamp on the game to stop the bleeding and we weren't able to do that. We as a team didn't step up for each other. That was the biggest thing.”
The Crew had conceded only a goal a game prior to the match but were without center back Chad Marshall (hamstring), right back Josh Williams (calf) and defensive midfielders Danny O'Rourke (ankle) and Agustin Viana (hamstring).
“You can't use that as an excuse when you don't have certain guys on the field because the next guy’s got to step up,” Gruenebaum said. “Disappointment is the only way to describe it.”
O'Rourke was on the bench Wednesday and Warzycha said Marshall and Williams are expected to be available for the Montreal match.
The Crew were also missing midfielder Eddie Gaven (knee) and forward Jairo Arrieta (national team) and were blanked for the third time in a six-game span (1-3-2) despite 19 shots, four of which were on target.
“We're not creating dangerous situations,” Gruenebaum said. “The shots were a little bit deceptive. I don’t think [Union goalkeeper Zac] MacMath was too worried tonight. He was never really bothered.”