Caleb Porter said the flood gates would open eventually.
Being on what felt like the precipice of a high-production game for the course of nearly a month, the conversions eventually came to fruition in the Crew’s 3-1 win over the LA Galaxy on Wednesday.
But credit’s due where credit’s due, and as much as the goal scoring provided relief, the coaching staff and players alike emphasized how Wednesday’s performance really displayed the club’s continuity and its ability to embrace any situation going forward.
“We have to win with the team," Porter said. "I said it to the guys before the game, a team that’s together 11 guys in soccer, can beat individuals and I thought that showed today and I’m very proud of the group.”
The Crew not only saw goals from three different players but three different positions in Gyasi Zardes, Federico Higuain, and Hector Jimenez. Meanwhile, going toe-to-toe with one of the most potent crossing teams in the League that sports one of the top finishers and Golden Boot contender in Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Crew SC’s centerback pairing of Jonathan Mensah and Gaston Sauro combined for seven clearances, four interceptions, and two blocks while limiting Ibrahimovich to one shot on a target.
In discussing how the coaching staff is looking to find the right rotation through these heavy three-match, eight-day stretches, Porter highlighted the centerbacks and specifically on Sauro’s performance, who rotated in for Josh Williams, who played last Saturday at D.C. United.
“Inserting Gaston [Sauro], let’s not forget about that,” Porter said. “We talked a lot…and we always thought this would be a great game for Gaston to be able to battle Zlatan and he is very good on aerial duels when [you] look at analytics. I think it was the right choice.”
Meanwhile, Higuain, who became the Club’s all-time regular-season assist leader on Wednesday, alluded to the team’s unity and provided perspective on the group’s trust in each other despite the recent woes.
“I’m happy, very pleased. Again, we were talking a lot this week, it’s nice to see that we still believe in each other,” Higuain said, “because it is very easy to trust in your teammate when things are going in your way, but when things are not going your way, it’s much [more] beautiful to keep trusting in your teammate. That’s what happened tonight. I feel very proud of this group.”
Par for the course, the Argentine No. 10 shifted any spotlight on himself to the team’s joint effort on Wednesday.
“I believe more in an idea of collective football. I really believe in the confidence that I have on my teammates, the confidence they give me to play football,” Higuain said.
Speaking of collective football, the Crew stamped their presence not only in the boxes but between them as well, as Robinho led the match with 19 duels, followed by Zardes (14) and Higuain (13).
What it came down to, Porter said, was playing without fear, and with the League’s top team in LAFC coming to town on Saturday, the head coach promised much of the same.
“We’re going against the super-power in LAFC and so we know we will have our hands full,” Porter said. “We’ll remain very humble about that but my players will not take the field with fear, just like we did not take the field with any fear today.”
Up next, Crew SC continues at home when they face LAFC at MAPFRE Stadium on Saturday, May 11 at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Supporters can watch the match on FOX Sports Ohio, stream on FOX Sports GO, or listen on 97.1 FM The Fan or www.ColumbusCrewSC.com (English & Spanish).