Columbus Crew SC is back home on Wednesday to start a three-match home stretch against Toronto FC in the Second leg of the 2016 Trillium Cup rivalry series.
Last weekend, the Black & Gold paid a visit to the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium. Ola Kamara found the back of the net for the eighth time in 11 games this season but Crew SC was unable to secure any points in Foxborough. Turning around quickly, Columbus is back in action just four days later at MAPFRE Stadium. Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter says he likes getting right back into action after the loss on Saturday.
“I like the fact that we play midweek again," he said. "It gets us back into action and the group is raring to go.”
Earning 13 of 16 total points on the season at MAPFRE Stadium, Crew SC has only lost once on its home pitch this season dating back to the first home match of the season against the Philadelphia Union on March 12. Berhalter says that the group needs the crowd behind them to get them back on track this week.
“We have two huge games on Wednesday and Saturday and we’re going to really need the crowd behind us for these games.”
After starting an eight-game Eastern Conference stretch at Gillette Stadium on Saturday, the Black & Gold are looking to take advantage of the three consecutive Eastern Conference home matches to earn maximum points.
“It is a really important week for this group and for this team," midfielder Ethan Finlay said. "It is getting to a point in the season where we need to start turning things around and start adding points to our total. With two home games, this week is a great opportunity. It’s not going to be easy but it’s against two Eastern Conference opponents that we’re more than capable of beating and fully expect to get six points out of these next two.”
Midfielder Tony Tchani added, “Going into this game, we are hungry and getting that win would be huge for us.”
In the First Leg of the 2016 Trillium Cup, Crew SC and Toronto FC played to a scoreless draw at BMO Field. The two Eastern Conference opponents met three times in the 2015 regular-season and the Black & Gold secured seven of the nine possible points against the Reds. Tchani says they have to keep strong in the back and bring the intensity in order to secure maximum points.
“I just think that we have to match the intensity in the midfield and make sure that defensively, we are strong.”
One thing the Black & Gold doesn’t do is give up in matches when down. Berhalter said there is never a question of if the team is playing hard to the whistle.
“I know when we are down in games, there is never a question of if we are going to keep going. You see how the guys work. Last week, we kept going — even to the last second of injury time we were trying to get opportunities and try to score and hanging in there.“
Although Crew SC currently sits ninth in the Eastern Conference, only six points sit between it and a playoff spot. Tchani said the group just needs to believe and the wins will come.
“We just have to believe. I feel like every game we create enough chances. If we put those chances away I think we have a chance to win games.”
Kickoff on Wednesday is set for 7 p.m. You can catch the match on The CW Columbus, Time Warner Cable SportsChannel and BCSN2, as well as hear it on the radio CD102.5 and LaMega 103.1.