Columbus Crew head coach Wilfried Nancy said his side must continue to work and improve following Sunday night’s 3-1 loss to Nashville SC at GEODIS Park.
Against one of the Eastern Conference’s top teams, the Crew was able to score one of its fastest goals in club history, but the visitors were kept quiet the rest of the match as Nashville added a trio of goals in the second half.
“We started well. It's not easy to play against this team. We know that,” Nancy said after the match. “We didn't have many chances, I would say. We were under pressure, but we were able to contain and to maintain the pressure. First half, we had good moments where we were able to come out from the pressure. We [didn’t] attack well. We got punished.
“This is not frustration, this is not upset; this is in between because again, we have to be alright on that. The players’ effort, they fought, they fought, they fought, but it was not enough.”
Yaw Yeboah’s world-class strike opened the scoring inside the opening 90 seconds when he received the ball from Cucho Hernández and uncorked a brilliant long-range effort toward the back post for the Ghanaian’s second goal of the season.
The goal was the 10th occasion in Crew history that the club scored within two minutes — and was on the one-year anniversary of the team’s fastest-ever goal.
The Crew was able to carry its lead into halftime, but Nashville equalized 11 minutes into the second half when Columbus was unable to clear the ball on an in-swinging corner kick. The home side then took the lead in the 80th minute from another in-swinging corner on the opposite side corner in Crew territory.
“We have different ways to defend set pieces,” Nancy said. “They have big bodies, we know that. The first one, honestly, Pat (Schulte) was not able to come out because one of the players [was there and had to] avoid that. For me on that one, this is a little bit we can discuss about this one, but they found the header on the goal inside of our six so we have to be more aggressive and we have to try to get the first contact and also try to avoid the corner.”
Cucho nearly scored a stoppage-time equalizer on a corner kick, but the effort was saved by Nashville goalkeeper Joe Willis. Jacen Rusell-Rowe also had a nice opportunity to bring the match back on level pegging, but Willis made another fine stop before Hany Mukhtar finished the scoring in the 97th minute via a counter attack.
“This is a physical team,” Nancy said of Nashville. “This is the same standard as Philly and also Cincinnati. Again, the league is like this. We're going to face a different style of play. We know that Nashville they are physical and they put a lot of pressure. Again, we have to analyze that a bit, move forward and work, work, work and work to be better.”
Columbus now has a quick turnaround before its next match: Wednesday against the Colorado Rapids at Lower.com Field. Only resale tickets remain for the sold-out clash, as the Black & Gold look to end the month with momentum.
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