Crew players and coaches would be the first people to tell you Saturday's first half in Houston wasn't good enough.
But here's the thing: in soccer, or any sport, it's pretty hard to be dominant 100% of the time. Clubs have their ups and downs. But give the Black & Gold a lot of credit for this: despite not having their best showing in the first 45, they were able to completely reverse their fortunes over just a short halftime break in order to battle back for a big road point.
"I thought we came out slow and they punished us," said goalkeeper Steve Clark. "Obviously, we turned it around at halftime and did the opposite. We came out ready to play. Two different teams."
This was the type of performance that the club will need in order to make the playoffs. Turning losses into draws can often be as important as turning draws into wins, especially given the club's history in Houston.
"This is a tough place to play," said Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter. "It's not easy. Houston has a very good home record. Especially going down two goals, it took a lot. It took a lot of character for our team to fight back, but we certainly did that. Overall, it’s a very good point."
The fact of the matter is, while winning every match is certainly the goal, if the Black & Gold win every match at home and draw every match on the road from here on out, they should be more than fine in the race for the MLS Cup Playoffs.
How did the club get that draw tonight? Ethan Finlay credited his team's patience and its propensity to get back to the way it typically plays in the opening 10 minutes of the second half: moving the ball side-to-side. Most importantly, it displayed the mental fortitude to overcome a tough opening first half and claw back just in time.
"It was a disappointing first half," said Finlay. "But to pull two back in the second half away, a tough place to play, I think we're happy with it."
Saturday night wasn't a result that clinched a playoff spot for the Crew, but it was the type of result that showed it's more than ready to contend for one over the end-of-season gauntlet to come.
Next up: New England.