In the opening four games of the Crew’s 2022 regular season, the Black & Gold played aggressive, attacking soccer and found instant success. The team was unbeaten, and at one time, led the Eastern Conference standings.

That same attacking play has carried into the last three games, but the goals haven’t. And on Saturday night at Field, the Crew lost, 2-0, to Orlando City SC. A side that recently lead the conference in scoring hasn’t scored in three games.

“These moments in our jobs are tough, and they're not fun,” head coach Caleb Porter said after the result. “Almost every guy in that locker room and our staff – we've been in these moments before because we're experienced. But it's not often, and it's not fun.

“I told (the players), there's only one way out of it, and that's to keep working, and keep fighting. Keep their energy up. Stick together – us with them, them with us, them with each other. We're a good team. We're playing other good teams. We're falling short. There's things to improve, of course. Right now, the psychology of some things needs to turn because it's already a very difficult sport."

Porter said the Crew played some of its best soccer of the season in the first half, as the Black & Gold created chance after chance, but couldn’t find the back of the net.

Orlando did, however, in the 37th minute when Rodrigo Schlegal put home a cross from Júnior Urso. Then, in the 51st minute, City scored again in a well-worked goal between Facundo Torres and Ercan Kara.

“Right now, we just have to keep working to turn that, because it seems like every half chance the opponent has is in the back of the net. And every full chance we have, somehow is not going in,” Porter said. “And you know, when you give up the goal after playing well, and you're down one zero again, it's kind of like, ‘here we go again, right?’ And so, we have to be strong."

The good news is Columbus has a quick turnaround with a trip to the Motor City on Tuesday to play in a new competition.

With the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup resuming, the Crew will play its first match in the competition since 2019 on Tuesday night when the Black & Gold play Detroit City FC at Keyworth Stadium. Detroit City plays in the USL Championship, and the cup tie will stream on ESPN+.

From there, the Crew plays its second Western Conference opponent of the season on Saturday when it faces Sporting Kansas City on the road. SKC sits 12th in the Western Conference standings.

“We have an experienced team, an experienced coaching staff,” Porter said. “We have good players. There's 27 games left, we've got a lot of time to turn this around and dig ourselves out of it. But the only way to do that is to stick together and keep fighting and keep working.”

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