Across a 34-match, eight-month regular season, there are bound to be hiccups for every team in Major League Soccer.
It's how a team responds to the adversity that determines a club's success come October. Following its first loss of the 2014 season against Toronto FC last week, the Crew looks to rebound and keep a consistent performance level through the season.
Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter has remained positive with his men, as he knows confidence is the key to the Black & Gold's execution.
"I'm really interested to see [how we bounce back]," Berhalter said Wednesday. "I think our game revolves around having confidence and we want to keep it up. I think obviously losing a game, you're confidence is going to dip a little. It's [the coaches'] job to get it up again."
Added midfielder Hector Jimenez: "It's a long season. You have to take positives from the loss. Forget about it, move onto the next one. There's 30 games left. Put it away and move on."
As an MLS Supporters' Shield winner in 2011 as a player with the LA Galaxy, Berhalter knows what it takes to be successful in the League: consistency. The consistency, Berhalter hopes, carries on with a positive result on the road Sunday against the San Jose Earthquakes (3:00 p.m. ET / UniMas, Time Warner Cable SportsChannel).
"The first thing is that you have to bounce back from defeats. You're going have a couple. There are going to be stretches where guys aren't in the best of form, but you have to find a way to bounce back. Consistency is key, finding a certain level of performance and maintaining that."
Captain Michael Parkhurst cited team depth as an important factor in consistent results. The 30-year-old U.S. Men's National Team helped F.C. Nordsjælland to the Danish Superliga crown during his time spent in Europe.
"It's important that you have 20-23 guys that can step up and play," he said. "There are going to be injuries, there are going to be National Team call-ups to the World Cup. A lot of things go into the season and guys are going to have to step up throughout the season and fill-in or step into starting roles."
He continued: "It's extremely important that those guys are ready to step up and do the job. We're going to need goals from those guys. We're going to need big plays defensively, maybe even a goalkeeper if something happens. You never know. All those things go into the consistency of the whole team."
Despite last week's loss to Toronto, Berhalter is still confident in his gameplan. Though the result wasn't in the Crew's favor, the Black & Gold out-shot and out-possessed the Reds in the defeat.
"We still had the most passes in the League last week if you look at the numbers," he said. "We controlled a large portion of it. Unfortunately, we gave away an early goal. It didn't make things easy for us, but I still think we're a difficult team to play against."