Since making his debut with the Columbus Crew first team on July 7 in the team’s surprising victory over the Portland Timbers, Wil Trapp has been lauded as one of the team’s bright young stars. Even in a series of losses, praise for the young midfielder has been high, and expectations are soaring.
But in a 4-0 loss to Real Salt Lake last Saturday, Trapp got his first dose of an overpowering midfield system, and found himself in an important learning moment.
“It was extremely frustrating. They’re a great team, and they showed it in that game,” Trapp told MLSSoccer.com after training Tuesday. “Their rotation in the midfield and all the way around the field with guys interchanging is tough to pick up and to shuffle guys around to mark.”
Columbus head coach Robert Warzycha said that the match was lost in midfield, and that Trapp was as responsible as anyone else for the loss.
“He can do everything better, especially passing,” he said. “We’re losing the ball, so it’s not about them passing, it’s about us. Because when we had the ball, we just gave it away. We talked about switching the point of attack, and that’s something we didn’t do.”
Trapp didn’t shy away from the criticism, however, and echoed his coach’s concerns.
“I’m definitely very critical of myself in that game,” he said. “I think I could have done more, communication-wise; I could have gotten on the ball and calmed things down, possession-wise. Each game you have to take bits and pieces and learn from it, and you learn the most from a loss.”
The 20-year-old midfielder is no stranger to a high-energy midfield. Trapp and Crew teammate Chad Barson played for Caleb Porter (now the head coach in Portland) collegiately at Akron, where the team built a reputation for an energetic passing game.
“[Barson] and I were talking, and [the RSL match] was kind of like playing Akron,” Trapp said. “When we were at Akron, that’s what we did to other teams, and to have it done to you is pretty frustrating… I think that’s something here that we could definitely implement a little more [in Columbus]. Just a little more off the ball movement and trying to get guys freed up in good spots.”
Though Warzycha was critical of Trapp’s game, he seems optimistic that positives will come from the loss, and that Trapp can still be an integral part of the team.
“I think he can see what he has to do better,” he said. “He’s going to learn, and the next time he plays these guys he’s going to know what to expect. The next time we go on the field, he knows that the way we played last time wasn’t right.”