Time and again we witness how adversity — and one's ability to fight through it — can ultimately provide a launching pad for future success.
After Saturday’s complete team effort en route to a comeback win against Eastern Conference foe Orlando City SC, it serves as a kind reminder of the sense of resiliency Columbus Crew SC has shown this season.
“I think the group has a strong mentality, anyway, so what this does is give you another memory to build on,” said Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter.
“You think about (at) Seattle going down to 10 men for a long period of time; (in) Kansas City going down to 10 men and not breaking. This is another example of good resiliency,” Berhalter explained.
Of Crew SC’s nine wins this season, five have come after being down or tied at the halftime whistle. Of those five, four have been won in the 80th minute or later, most recently with Wil Trapp’s game-winner in the 92nd minute on July 21, and as far back as Gyasi Zardes’ 94th-minute game-winning penalty kick in the second game of the season against the Montreal Impact (March 10).
But it hasn’t just been in the victories either.
Most notably, perhaps, was the Black & Gold’s 3-3 draw against Toronto FC on June 2, when Columbus scored three unanswered goals in the final 23 minutes to secure the Trillium Cup.
With that in mind, Crew SC heads to Red Bull Arena, as the Club looks for its first result in New Jersey since a 3-1 win on Oct. 19, 2014, while the Red Bulls hold onto an 8-1-1 home record this season.
“Red Bulls is always a difficult game for us,” Berhalter said. “I think it’s difficult for most teams that want to put the ball on the ground and play.”
Earlier this season, Crew SC earned a 1-1 draw against the Red Bulls at MAPFRE Stadium on June 9, with Zardes making the scoresheet with a first-half header.
On the season, the Red Bulls are 13-5-2 and have surged as of late, going 5-1-0 in their last six matches.
“What they do, they do very well, so we have to be aware of it,” Berhalter said of the Red Bulls. “It doesn’t mean we can’t play at all. If you look at the last game, there were times when we really picked them apart, particularly in the first half, so there will be opportunities – we just have to be smart.”
Crew SC and the Red Bulls kick-off at 7 p.m. ET on Saturday, July 28 in Harrison, N.J.