The Crew is happy to return home Wednesday night (FOX Sports Ohio/7:00PM ET) for a midweek fixture against a struggling Chivas USA side after suffering back-to-back road losses to New England and New York. Following the consecutive defeats, a return of confidence will be the key in the Crew's performance.
"Tomorrow, the most dangerous thing for us is us: our confidence and our feeling about [the game]," Milovan Mirosevic explained. "We have to have a positive mentality all the time. It doesn't matter what is going on. If we give up a goal in the first half, for example. I hope not, but if we do and keep our minds strong, it will be key tomorrow."
Having allowed five goals over those two matches, head coach Robert Warzycha is calling for better defense from the Black & Gold.
"We have to play very solid in the back. Lately, we've given up too many goals," Warzycha said. "We have to have better team defense. We have to make sure we always have pressure on the ball, especially in our half."
Chivas enters Wednesday's match sitting in last place in the Western Conference, scoring a league-low 21 goals this season. The Goats will be without head coach Robin Fraser and talented midfielder Shalrie Joseph, both of whom are serving one-match suspensions. Despite those absences, the Crew will be cautious of a team that has earned 17 of its 28 points on the road.
"[Chivas USA] is a dangerous team, especially on the road," Crew goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum said after Tuesday's training session in Obetz. "Just because they haven't been scoring a lot of goals or getting results, doesn't mean they're not hungry for a win. No matter what your situation, you're always going to be playing for something whether it be the playoffs, your job, or anything. They've gotten a lot of points on the road, so it's not going to be an easy match."
Gruenebaum will be back in goal after colliding with the post in Saturday's match in New York, forcing him to exit in the 85th minute. Likewise, playmaker Federico Higuaín will likely start after playing just one minute against the Red Bulls with an inflammed foot.
With only six matches remaining, both players will play integral roles in the Crew's push for the playoffs. Sitting two points behind D.C. United in a battle for the fifth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, the team knows how important it will be to secure three points Wednesday evening.
"It's a game [at home]. We are in the end of the year already, so we have to win," Mirosevic said. "It's a little bit of pressure for us, but soccer is like that in some moments. We have to deal with it."
Added Gruenebaum, "We're going out to win the game. Anything short of that result, would be a failure for sure."