Crew on win streak, pushing towards playoff race
AUG 20, 2013 4:46p ET
Saturday's victory over Toronto FC marked the first time in the 2013 season that the Columbus Crew have won two games in a row. Both victories have been 2-0 shutouts, and midfielder Wil Trapp says that the first win streak of the season is vital to the team.
"It feels great. Two wins in a row is a great confidence booster for us and we just have to keep doing what we're doing and keep winning games," he said. "Two wins at home to get the fans back into it, especially with two shutouts, it's even better. It's something we can definitely build off of."
Head Coach Robert Warzycha says that the team is playing better all over the field in earning the wins, and that the offense is finally where he envisioned it, after forward Federico Higuain has found his form, scoring the team's last four goals in the past two matches.
"We're more aggressive on both sides of the ball. The shape and the space is very good, and when we win the ball in front of the box we have a chance to score goals," Warzycha said. "Goals like Higuain scored last week and this week, that's what we were missing. We were creating chances, but maybe confidence is not as high if you don't win games, if you create chances and don't score. Losing games in the last minute is not fun."
The last minute losses Warzycha mentioned came at the hands of Toronto and New England in recent weeks, and the stoppage time defeats prompted the team to discuss finishing, and pulling together to close a win. For defender Josh Williams, the wins have shown that the team needs to remain the aggressor to the final whistle.
"I think we were just a little unfortunate in some of those games, and some of it was a lack of grit. In those games, you're going to get the team's last punch, and you have to take it," he said. "We don't want to just sit back. We'd get a lead and kind of sit back and let them take it to us. These last two games we've kind of wanted to step on their throat, and that's exactly the mentality we need to have. We can't sit back on a one or two goal lead."
For veteran defender Chad Marshall, the team has been able to possess the ball in the final minutes, stringing together multiple passes. Marshall and Williams both credited midfielder Wil Trapp's play with the team's ability to hold possession.
"I think it just comes down to keeping the ball. Late in the game in the last two, we've been able to possess and get out of tight situations and really kill some clock," Marshall said. "We haven't had that in the past; it was two or three passes, we lose it and they're back down our throats. There's only so many times you can do that before the team finally capitalizes."
With the playoffs still an outside chance, Warzycha said that the win streak was necessary at this point in the season.
"It was this time or never. If we would have lost the game against New York or this game, we would have put ourselves in a difficult situation," he said. "We're in the situation that we have to have some luck and have some teams lose some games or tie some games. We're going to continue to play hard and try to win all of the games."
The team's first win streak comes before a trip to Salt Lake City, Utah to take on Real Salt Lake who sit atop the Western Conference standings. RSL has only lost twice in Rio Tinto Stadium in 2013, but Warzycha says the Crew have what it takes to challenge them at home.
"We're going to create the chances. We have some guys that can really do something on the field, offensively, and I'd like us to score some goals," he said. "If we're as sharp offensively as we were in the last two games, then we're going to score some goals and we're going to make it tough on Salt Lake."
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