When Miguel Berry the Crew’s equalizing goal last week, the young forward’s smile filled his face and his teammates rushed to celebrate the moment. Of course, Berry scored another goal – the game-winner – minutes later in the 3-2 win against FC Cincinnati.
But when Berry equalized Saturday night’s match against Orlando City SC, there was no moment of pride or jubilation. He didn’t even smile. Instead, he greeted his teammates on the end line, almost as a requirement, then returned to midfield determined to help Columbus crawl out of another deficit to earn three points.
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Unfortunately, that’s as good as it got for the Crew inside Exploria Stadium, as the visitors conceded a third and final goal minutes from Berry’s equalizer, cementing a defeat.
“We don’t go from being a championship team to being a poor team overnight,” Berry said following the match. “We’re still a very good team and we can still play like that – we have to find a way to do that for 90 minutes straight.”
Head coach Caleb Porter offered similar sentiments when he spoke to the media after the loss. At halftime, he told the broadcast team that the Crew “unraveled” during a three-minute span when they allowed two goals, but they showed promising signs in the final third.
“I felt the result was there for the taking, especially in the second half the way we crawled back into the game to make it 2-2,” Porter said. “Disappointing, obviously, to get nothing out of the game.
“We knew it was going to be a game where we were thin. We didn’t have a ton of subs … but I felt (there was a) great fight in the second half, just disappointed to not get something out of the game, and also disappointed with a few performances in the first half.”
With nine players missing from injuries or on international duty, the Crew found themselves down 2-0 after 29 minutes following two lapses.
The first – Daryl Dike’s goal from a counter-attack – was a foul, according to Porter at halftime, but showed the strength of the U.S. national team forward to break away and give Orlando the lead.
The second goal came when a cross swung into the six-yard box, and goalkeeper Eloy Room expected Chris Mueller, who was open, to get a touch on the ball. He didn’t and the ball bounced in.
But the story changed in the second half when a failed Orlando clearance in the 52nd minute sent the ball back toward goal. City center back Antônio Carlos went to head the ball away and lofted it into his net.
Two minutes later, Berry scored his third goal in two games when Lucas Zelarayán played a pass toward Derrick Etienne Jr., who stood atop the 18-yard box. Etienne’s first touch slotted toward Berry who struck the ball past Adam Grinwis for the equalizer.
“I’m very pleased with Miguel Berry,” Porter said. “When you look at him, he’s such a bright spot now. This kid is really emerging as a big player for us. Obviously, he has to continue to do so, but I just love his hunger, just love his energy. I love that he’s taking his chances.”
The Crew eventually allowed the Orlando game-winner in the 69th minute Júnior Urso sent a scintillating shot toward the back post, denying Columbus from earning a point on the road.
With the result, the Black & Gold will be back in Florida next Saturday when they face Inter Miami CF in Fort Lauderdale as part of the first-ever matchup between the clubs.