The Columbus Crew's playoff chances may have ended with Saturday's loss to the New England Revolution, but thanks to their schedule, the team feels like its season is far from over, as it hosts the team that eliminated them from playoff contention this weekend.
“[Missing the playoffs] is not a reason for us to clean house and roll out ten new guys. We've got to play so that New England's really not getting into the playoffs on our backs,” Interim Head Coach Brian Bliss said after Tuesday's training. “We can't allow that to happen. I really don't care who makes the playoffs or who doesn't, it's just not happening on our backs.”
Bliss said that he expects the team to treat training like a normal workweek, and Tuesday's session seemed as competitive as any. The Interim Head Coach made it clear to players that there would be no tolerance for a letdown.
“They're all good pros. Everybody is competitive, and everybody wants to win. So there's no reason to throw one out,” Bliss said. “The game doesn't mean anything, but it matters. There's a difference. If they needed help with that, I told them to come see me.”
Winger Ethan Finlay echoed Bliss's sentiments, and said that the team will take pride in its final game of the season, regardless of its final standing.
“The game doesn't mean anything to us, but it definitely still matters,” he said. “We don't want New England to get in the playoffs, obviously. We want to do everything we can to win that game if it prevents them. I think it will leave a little bit better taste in our mouth to finish the season.”
With New England still in the thick of the playoff hunt, competitors such as Houston, Philadelphia and Chicago will be pulling for a Columbus upset to knock the Revolution out of its current fifth-place position, and Bliss made it clear that he won't be doing any favors for New England with his lineup on Sunday.
“The other teams who are fighting for playoff spots wouldn't appreciate us going out and rolling over,” he said. “And if I'm on the other side of that, I wouldn't want the other team rolling out a different squad that would be perceived as less competitive. That's not the way to go about it.”