Gregg Berhalter, Columbus Crew SC Head Coach
On the team's effort with the new system
"I think it did. Towards the end we got more dangerous and the plan was to take our time. The plan was to tire them out and keep them moving. I think that the first half because of our new spacing that we were trying, it just wasn't as smooth as it could have been. None the less it was still there and effective. I think if you see in the second half they ran out of gas and we were trying to take advantage of that."
On not connecting on the final pass:
"We wanted to score a goal in this game and I think we were close. I think there were a couple good opportunities that we had and we could have potentially scored on. I think all being said we did have enough opportunities to get a goal in this game."
On missing Higuain today:
"Again we were working on a new spacing structure. I think that part of the field conditions being dry the ball was sticking a little bit. I think we couldn't move the ball as fast as we needed to in this particular game. That's not an excuse. We still had opportunities and I'm proud of the guys for their effort."
On the new system being implemented because they were missing Higuain:
"No we wanted to take advantage of the opponent. We saw a potential weakness in them that we wanted to try to exploit."
On sometimes contending with a five-man back line:
"No, again I think it was going to be about the moments. It was not going to be about complete domination. It's hard to dominate a backline of five. It's going to be about certain moments. In the first half there were two or three of those that we needed to capitalize on and we didn't."
On Higuain's injury:
"His ankle was sore. We thought this was a game where we didn't want to take a chance. It's a long season and he means a lot to this team. We didn't want him to travel this week."
On Naess clearing the ball off the line in the 82nd minute:
"We'll keep going. It was a broken play they got a chance on. They didn't have many chances in the second half at all. Nico did a good job following up on that. You always want your defenders getting back to the goal and covering up the goal."
On what he can take away from this game:
"I don't think we threw this game away at all. I praised the guys for their effort. I think they put a lot into this game. The goal was disappointing to give up but it's a learning experience. I think our backline has been doing well. I think Alex Crognale has been doing very well. In this particular play we just didn't slide quick enough and left too much space. We will learn from that."
On the new system not clicking yet:
"Again, we purposefully had a different structure. We weren't trying to play like the way we always play. Optically it looks different. We isolated our wingers and put them wide. We wanted to create 1-v-1 matches. We wanted to keep their back line of five at home. And we wanted to create a numerical advantage in the midfield. That was the idea. You can argue if it was successful or not. Obviously we lost the game. I think the structure was there to move the ball around if we want to."
On the difficulty of implementing this new structure in a game:
"Potentially but we've been pushing these guys all year. And we're going to continue to push them. They adapt and they're open to it. That's the most important thing. If we have these tools at our disposal we will be a better team in the future."
Justin Meram, Columbus Crew SC Midfielder
On trying a new system:
"We tried something different and we actually created some chances out of it in the first half. The ball wasn't bouncing our way and honestly they had one chance. I don't remember them having any other dangerous chances in the whole game."
On fighting a five-man back line:
"It was tough. They dropped McCarty and Schweinsteiger so it was almost 7v4. We adapted well in the second half and you saw the pressure we put on them. I think we controlled most of the second half."
On switching back to a normal formation in the second half:
"I think later in the game they had tired legs and pockets where we were moving well. We had the hunger to keep going. I'm proud of the guys and we gave it our all on the field. We just came up a little short tonight."
On the tactic of trying to tire the Fire out and it not occurring early enough:
"I think if we answer on one of those chances we'll come out on top. They kept numbers back and they were defending for their lives. We gave them 15 minutes where we took it to them and really controlled the pace of the ball on our side."
Ethan Finlay, Columbus Crew SC Forward
On getting good looks at the goal:
"We had good looks at the goal in the second half and we had more bodies in the box. We created a little bit more havoc. There are moments though where we have to do a little bit better as a group."
On the new formation and his role:
"We had a clear plan how we were going to come into the game. We thought they would be coming with a five back system and we thought we found a way to expose them. Possess the ball in the midfield. It was a little tougher in the first half to move the ball quickly. The idea was to get us isolated and high enough on the field and take a guy on and get numbers in the box. We did it a handful of times in the first half and in the second half they changed it up and we went right back to how we used to play."