Speaking to the media following the Columbus Crew’s 2-1 loss at Inter Miami CF, head coach Caleb Porter didn’t hold anything back when he said he was frustrated that the Black & Gold had outplayed another opponent but didn’t have any points to show for it.
“It's another game we're there's no way we should lose that game. No way,” Porter said. “Two very poor goals. (Gonzalo) Higuaín had two chances and two goals, and that's not good enough. It's that simple. He's the guy that's going to score and the way he scored both goals should've never happened.
“For us to play as well as we did and to lose that game, is shocking and I take responsibility. I'm the head coach, I pick the players and prepare the players. Today, we gave up two very poor goals where we lost concentration, and we lost focus. And if we want to be a team that has a chance to do something at the end of the year, we can't be a team that gives up the goals we gave up today.”
Higuaín gave the home side the lead in the 21st minute when the Crew was beat in transition after controlling play on the other end of the pitch.
The equalizer came in the 41st minute, however, when Juan “Cucho” Hernández scored his ninth goal of the season. The sequence came from Kevin Molino, who made his 100th MLS start, playing a ball toward the endline. Steven Moreira made a deep run, then sent the ball back into the box toward Cucho, who produced his first goal since Aug. 21. The assist was Moreira’s fifth in 2022.
But then came two blows. The first was captain Jonathan Mensah being injured on a tackle and needing to be subbed off before the half ended. The second was a weather delay that lasted more than two hours.
When play resumed, it was the Crew continuing to push for a game-winning goal – only for another Miami goal to go against the run of play, as Higuaín scored his second in the 81st minute.
There were chances for a late equalizer, including Yaw Yeboah smashing a shot that rattled the post and Lucas Zelarayán nearly scoring in the final moments, but Columbus was unable to secure a road point.
“It's concentration, communication and simple routine transition and a little slip run on the shoulders, that we have to track and we don't,” Porter said of the Crew conceding. “So, we're left again saying, ‘We played really well. We should have could have won the game.’ But we're left with no points because we lose concentration.
“So, how's it going to change? You have guys in that are going to be concentrating and we need to find that breakthrough where we're getting the job done, you know, and making the plays to win games. And we're going to find out in the next four games, you know, really what our season's like, what it's about, who's going to push us into the playoffs.”
The Crew has entered win-now mode just in time for two-straight home matches.
On Sunday, the Black & Gold host the Portland Timbers in a 2015 MLS Cup Finals rematch at Lower.com Field. Then, the following Saturday, the New York Red Bulls visit the Ohio capital.
With four matches remaining in the regular season, Columbus maintains the seventh and final spot in the playoffs with 41 points. Inter Miami is in eighth with 39 points, while the New England Revolution has 38 points, but has played one more match.
The Crew controls its fate and can only look forward.
“It's got to change today,” Porter said. “We have four games to go, and we're going to see what we are made of. Two goals today were very poor and should never happen. And that's what cost us the game.”
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