The Columbus Crew entered Saturday’s matchup with Nashville SC having not conceded a goal from open play this season. And if not for a slip, that streak probably would’ve continued.
But a 28th-minute goal from Alex Muyl was all Nashville SC needed before it bunkered around its goal box and forced the Crew to play through it. There were positive moments, but an equalizer never came, as the Black & Gold lost, 1-0, Saturday afternoon at Lower.com Field.
“I think it’s a frustrating game because it played out exactly the way they wanted it to play out, and we’ve seen them do that time-and-again on the road,” Crew head coach Caleb Porter said about Nashville’s tactics. “They’re the best in the league at sitting in a low block and making life difficult and that’s why they had (18) draws last year.
“You have to give a lot of credit to Nashville for pulling out a smash-and-grab, three points on the road when they gave up 19 shots and only had six themselves and that’s the exact game we knew that we were going to get.”
In a game where the Crew controlled 67% of possession, won 56% of duels and outshot its opponent 3:1, the club was still unable to find a breakthrough goal. As commentator Neil Sika pointed out on the broadcast, the Black & Gold have played 17 home matches inside Lower.com Field. The team was shut out in only two matches – both against Nashville.
“I think we can find the third man a little bit more and the runs behind the line - the guys coming (in as a) surprise,” Artur said of how Columbus could’ve broken through the visiting backline. “So, just being a little more clinical when we have a chance to finish. Whether it’s a header, a shot from inside the box or the top of the box. We’re going to keep working on that because we’re going to need it.
“Sometimes were going to play difficult opponents like Nashville – they defend very well, and they just sat back the whole game. It doesn’t matter, we’ve got to be able to break them. At home, we need to do that, and I think they scored a lucky goal, and we couldn’t break them today.”
Porter offered similar sentiments on wanting to give a full stadium an entertaining and rewarding performance.
“I think the most disappointing thing is that we had a packed crowd and we sent them home with a loss and no goals,” the coach said. “That’s not good enough. We want to score goals here; we want to leave them going home with three points. They were awesome today, the supporters. They showed up and we didn’t get it done. We have to now go on the road just like they did, backs against the wall now and go and get three points against Philly on the road now.”
Next for the Black & Gold is a trip to Chester, PA, to face the first-place Philadelphia Union on Saturday. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. The Crew’s next match in Columbus is April 16 against Orlando City SC.
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