No place like home to get back on track

Ethan Finlay solo CLBvPHI 3-12-16

“History's proven it. We aren’t having much different of a start than last year, and if you look at our first four road games last year it’s identical to this year. To us, it’s a long haul; it’s about the next game and that’s all its about.”

Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter has been preaching “one match at a time” since he joined Crew SC and it’s not changing now. Four of the Black & Gold’s first five matches were on the road and they have collected two points so far this season. But Crew SC is staying focused on the task at hand and excited to be playing at MAPFRE Stadium for four of its next five games.

“It will be very nice to come home and play with our supporters in the stands, and I’m excited to get back into MAPFRE Stadium,” midfielder Cedrick Mabwati says through a club translator. “It’s always special to play at home, especially in the situation we find ourselves in right now. We play better at home, we need to win as soon as possible and I think it’s going to be a very good atmosphere.”

The task begins with star-studded New York City FC on Saturday night at 7:30. The Eastern Conference club is 1-1-3 this season after hosting four matches at Yankee Stadium and earning its sole win on the road.

“This League is not easy at any moment. Being able to string a couple wins together can change things very quickly,” midfielder Ethan Finlay says. “Obviously, we’re just focused on New York City on the weekend. It’s a very good team, it’s an Eastern Conference game and we’re coming home. Last time we played at home we had a disappointing result and we want to change that.”

The Black & Gold hosted the Philadelphia Union for Opening Match on March 12, dropping its lone contest in Columbus 2-1. But a positive mindset, patience and heightened sense of urgency are present.

“We have a positive group,” defender Tyson Wahl says. “We’re kind of just focused on the process but there is urgency now, so I think we just have to fight for that first win and once we get that win, I think it will be contagious.”

Crew SC is hungry for three points and is aware of the challenge to earn them. Playing together, confident movements, pressing after turnovers, moving the ball faster, being more precise with the final pass and putting away chances created are all on the to-do list for Saturday night. Finlay’s confident in his team’s ability to respond well in match six.

“I think you put your backs up against the wall a little bit early,” Finlay says. “We have to respond and we’re at home so hopefully we’ll be comfortable with the week, and then obviously on Saturday knowing the field, there’s going to be no issue there. So for me, it’s just kind of getting back on track and there’s no better place to do that than at home in front of your home fans, and that’s what I look forward to on Saturday.” 

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