The Columbus Crew clearly know they’re down, but are hardly out of Major League Soccer’s playoffs.
Going into Saturday’s second leg against the New England Revolution, the Eastern Conference champions have to overcome a one-goal arrears. The Crew may have been beaten for the first time in 18 games, but one of the club’s leaders on the field believes destiny is squarely in Columbus’ hands.
“All we’ve got to do is win at home,” said Crew wingback and U.S. international Frankie Hejduk. “We should win at home. That’s why we got home-field advantage. They did their job. Now it’s our turn.”
After winning the Supporters Shield, Columbus earned the opportunity to do just what is needed-face a must-win situation at the favorable climes of Crew Stadium. The faithful are likely to provide the noise and support, but the coaching staff and the players know more is needed. The Crew has the quiet confidence that a good team must have in order to succeed.
“We’re down 1-0 at half,” said Andrulis after his team’s loss at Gillette Stadium this past weekend. “We’ve been in this position before, and we’ll bounce back.”
It will be interesting whether Andrulis chooses to field both Edson Buddle and Jeff Cunningham from the start, or to leave the latter again as a second-half substitute if the Crew are in search of an important series equalizer or winning goal. Cunningham replaced Buddle 51 minutes in last Saturday, and the Crew will be dependant on both to fire the team’s attack against a Revolution defense that on their day can be a fierce, disrupting force. Midfielder Chris Wingert is a doubt for Saturday after picking up a knock in the defeat.
Columbus knows the deficit is one that can be overcome at Crew Stadium, but the club’s midfield glue knows his side must put together a better effort.
“We have to worry about what we can do on the field,” said Simon Elliott. “We get a chance to get it right next week and I have all the confidence in the guys that we can get it done. We’ve done it all year. If we worry about ourselves and playing our game the results will come.”
Original Article written by Aris Ohanessian