Crew Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter has stressed it ahead of every match: he's searching for consistency and predictable results from every player on the pitch.
Now that his club has won consecutive matches, he's starting to get just that, particularly from his younger players, many of whom have been integral parts of the club's recent success. One such player is rookie striker Adam Bedell, who Berhalter singled out for praise when talking about his team's development earlier this week:
"Why don't we focus on the fact that Adam Bedell was identified through our combine – he wasn't even in the MLS combine – and he's scored an MLS goal already? That, to me, is impressive," said the Crew boss.
Bedell, indeed, has started the previous two matches for the Black & Gold and looks every bit the part of an MLS striker. As for not being invited to the League combine? The former University of Detroit Mercy player doesn't pay much mind to that.
"I don't really think about that stuff. I need to stay within myself," Bedell said. "When I do that and I play my game, that's when I'm at my best. If I start thinking about things like that, that will get me off my game. We're all in this league for a reason. We can all play, whether it's [Patrick] Mullins, who was drafted as high as he was, or me in the third round. For me, it's just staying within myself."
Mullins, a first-round pick, and Bedell, a third, squared off last weekend at Gillette Stadium, part of the monumental rise for the Crew striker that came as even a bit of a surprise to him.
"I don’t know how big my expectations were for this year in terms of playing time and things like that. My goal here was to assert myself within the team and work as hard as I can to start getting appearances and starts if I could. For me, it's just working hard and improving as a player. The rest has come with that."
Although he wasn't invited to the combine, he played at the Crew's satellite academy, CSA Wolves in Michigan, and was invited to the Black & Gold's college combine in December. After a good performance there, Bedell knew ahead of the draft that he had a good shot of formally coming to Columbus.
"[Berhalter and I] talked a little bit after the combine and he called me afterward, a couple of weeks later and we talked. I knew I was on their radar for sure. Before the [SuperDraft], we were in contact again and we figured out a day or two before that it was going to happen."
So now that he has become a featured player in the side, how does the rookie striker think he's progressed in terms of achieving the consistency that Berhalter craves?
"I've only had a couple of starts, obviously, but I've gotten more minutes and I think I'm up to 10 or 11 appearances now. I'm getting more comfortable with the team and how we're playing. I think I'm getting used to it. The more starts that I get, if they come my way, I'll be able to work with Pipa and the guys that are out there more often and kind of gel with them a little bit and hopefully get a rhythm with them."