With only three days and a coaching change between matches, the Crew looks to regroup from Saturday's loss to Seattle Sounders FC against the Houston Dynamo on Wednesday night (7:30 p.m. ET / FOX Sports Ohio). Though he has only had two training sessions to prepare his team for the match, Interim Head Coach has renewed his players' confidence ahead of the midweek tilt following the club's parting with Head Coach Robert Warzycha on Monday.
"[Bliss] doesn't leave a stone unturned when it comes to preparation, he addresses everything," third-year winger Justin Meram said. "It's good when you're ready and you have confidence going into the game. You know what he expects. I think it's a lot more demanding, in a good way."
Both Tyson Wahl and Wil Trapp have played under Bliss at different points in their careers. Both agree his honest approach is a fresh change in the locker room.
"Especially this week, there's been an increased belief and a people are getting new opportunities," Wahl said. "You can see it on the training fields, things are re-energized. That's nothing against Bobby [Warzycha], but it just naturally happens when you bring a new coach in."
Added Trapp: "There's definitely a little bit of freshness that has swooped in on us. With a new coach, everyone is out there to prove themselves. It's definitely a breath of fresh air and just little bit more of an excitement and buzz around the guys.
"Brian is definitely more in-your-face than Bobby was. If you mess up, he's going to tell you. I think that's good. I think that's something we need. The accountability factor, it's not something we lacked, but we weren't the best at."
Eight points out of a playoff spot with eight matches left to go in the season, the Crew still has a mathematical shot at the postseason. Perhaps a run in the final stretch of the season could be sparked by Monday's coaching change.
"There's definitely a bit of excitement and hope that has kind of come in with the change," Trapp said. "We have a mountain to climb, but if we get a big result here on Wednesday and move on to Kansas City against another good team. It's definitely doable, but it's going to take the best from all of us."
"We're still optimistic," echoed Wahl. "Mathematically, it's still possible [to make the playoffs]. As long as that stands, we'll have a chance.
"We know it's going to be tough, but every game we go into we think we can win."