This is why Emanuel Pogatetz was brought to Columbus.
Faced with an injury to defender Michael Parkhurst, ripe in the cauldron of Red Bull Arena, the Crew benefited greatly from the Austrian's presence in Sunday's 3-1 win. Pogatetz came off the bench to play the second half in place of the Black & Gold Captain, where he helped lock down New York's attack en route to the victory.
According to the defender, it was a difficult assignment for a multitude of reasons, but in the end he was pleased with both his personal play and that of his club's.
"A little bit of the atmosphere, but also the long time out," said Pogatetz on the challenges of yesterday's match. "The last game, I also came on but only for the last 10 minutes. It's different from playing a whole half. That's why I felt a little bit not nervous, but not relaxed, I would say.
"But I had a good start in the game, right at the start there was a header I won straight away that gave me confidence, and the team supported me well."
Although Lloyd Sam pulled a goal back for New York in the 58th minute, the Austrian was an integral reason why the match didn't get any closer for the Red Bulls. Throughout the 45 minutes, he made eight clearances, which tied Tyson Wahl for the team lead in the overall match. He also contributed by winning one tackle, two duels and making one interception.
"I think [New York] has good quality up front, especially with Henry and [Wright-Phillips], but we defended very well and we looked dangerous on the counterattack, that's also how we scored," said Pogatetz. "Probably when they scored the goal, we dropped a little too deep and didn't keep the ball as well as we did at other times in the game … but what was really, really good was the response after they scored. We didn't drop our standards and we didn't panic. We just stuck to our gameplan and that's why we deserved to win in the end."
Beyond responding well to New York's goal, Pogatetz was also pleased with how his team was able to efficiently close down the match in the final stages.
"Overall, I'm very happy in the second half with how we played, especially in the last 10 minutes," continued the defender. "We showed great confidence in keeping the ball. It was very clever play, very good play. We moved the ball around. They couldn’t get near us. All they could do in the last 10 minutes was kick us, so they gave a lot of fouls. That was very smart soccer."
Although Pogatetz has only been with the Crew for a few weeks, he is becoming assimilated with the culture of the club and its belief that, by coming together as a team, the sky is the limit for a club that has been surging in recent weeks.
"I think we just have to believe in ourselves," said Pogatetz. "In this League, the games are always very tight. Most of the games are on an equal level. There are just a few teams that probably are a little bit stronger than other teams, but in general I would say that everyone can beat everyone in the League, it's just about the little details.
"Most importantly, it's about the spirit, and I think we have a great spirit here. We have a great group. People can come off the bench, people out injured, whatever, we just stick together and play as a group and play for each other. We have no individuals who want to shine; we want to shine as a group and I think that can be the difference in the end why we can be successful."