The best professional athletes are often said to have a short memory. Nobody's perfect, and the best of the best are able to block out mistakes, move on and not let them affect future performance.
The Crew, however, finds itself in a bit of an interesting paradox following Saturday's 2-0 loss to the Montreal Impact. Returning home next Sunday against Chivas USA, the Black & Gold need to both forget and learn from what occurred on the Stade Saputo pitch while also recalling their performances against the LA Galaxy and Houston Dynamo.
"We've been playing pretty well and we've been on a little winning streak, but it's harder to continue that winning streak than it is to get those first couple," said defender Tyson Wahl. "I don't think we matched the effort level that we had in those first two wins. We didn't replicate those performances. There was a little bit of a drop-off there. We put ourselves in a hole in the first half and we couldn't get sharp enough in the final third to get anything going."
Fortunately for the Crew, the club has a great opportunity to recover with a home match against Chivas USA. Just 6-12-6 overall and 3-6-4 on the road in 2014, the Goats are also certainly to be without star striker Erick "Cubo" Torres, who is set to be on National Team duty with Mexico. Torres has 14 of Chivas USA's League-low 21 goals in 2014, which is a fairly all-encompassing statement about the club's offensive struggles as well as Torres' individual brilliance and importance.
That said, anyone can beat anyone in MLS as Montreal proved tonight. The margin for error in the League is so slim. The Crew, too, will have to adjust to life without both Tony Tchani and Wil Trapp, as both are suspended for the match due to yellow-card accumulation. Still, the fixture is a nice opportunity to rebound at home in a tight MLS Cup Playoff race where the club just experienced two of its most resounding wins all season.
"I think that we're in a dogfight. We know what we're in," said Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter. "We know how sensitive the situation is in terms of the spots right now. There are eight games left. We said we had 10 finals – now we have eight finals. We need to play like every one is a final."
Entering the week, defender Eric Gehrig said that the Crew was both focusing on what it did well while paying close attention to what it did not do well in the club's resounding home stretch from just a short few weeks ago. Now, it needs to regroup and recall the good. The season is growing shorter by the weekend, and while everyone makes mistakes, the best recover from them.
"I don't think it matters who we're playing next week, to be honest," added Berhalter. "We need to come out and perform. It's another game where we'll be ready to play."
"It's a must-win for us," said forward Aaron Schoenfeld.