Confidence is key, but it is only a variable.
Tactics, personnel, perhaps a favorable bounce – they have all been a part of the recent run of form. Come Saturday, it is another chance to keep climbing the table as the Crew stands eight points back of the red line with two back-to-back home games upcoming.
“Yeah, I do think it is a buzz word,” said midfielder Wil Trapp on the use of the word ‘confidence’ as of late.
“I think it is just about one game at a time. I can’t say it enough. We can sit here and talk about the run of form but ultimately it is about the individual games and we have to step up.”
Following a five-match losing streak, four of which came by a one-goal margin, Columbus comes into Saturday’s home match with eight points in the last four matches, including five points on the road, as part of a season-long four-match unbeaten streak.
“Three games on the road of the [last four overall], and honestly, if you would have told me that we get eight points in that stretch, I’d be really happy,” said Head Coach Caleb Porter. “Now the most important thing is getting three points in these next few home games.”
Saturday’s home match will be the first regular-season match against FC Cincinnati. Injuries have affected Saturday’s roster availability, though that is nothing out of the ordinary for the Crew this season.
Despite the setbacks, the team’s evolution in key aspects is showing, Porter said.
“Mentality. Hunger. I think the group is evolving. We are getting that killer instinct. We are getting more resilient. I feel like we are getting tougher.”
As a testament to Porter’s aforementioned comment, the Crew has responded to each conceded goal in the last four matches. No doubt, the recent success has been an amalgamation of factors; new players, opponent, schedule. But the Crew has also made its own luck in a sense, which is something that was not occurring, say, two months ago.
“I think it is a little bit of everything,” said midfielder Artur on the reasons for the positive trend. “I think we stick with the hard work in the training. You can see in the luck, in the Red Bulls game, the goal Pedro scored went through the legs of the defender. Earlier in the year, it would go bouncing off the defender and go out. We need a little bit of everything. Keep working hard and things will change.”
Following an away win at third-place New York Red Bulls and a road draw at second-place San Jose, which snapped the Earthquakes' four-match win streak, there is little doubt of the quality that this team has, Artur said.
“We proved that we are good team, a strong team. We have a good group,” Artur said. “We just need to get the result. I think now we are finding it and we just got to keep doing this.”
Supporters can watch this weekend's home match on FOX Sports Ohio, stream on FOX Sports GO, or listen on 97.1 FM The Fan or www.ColumbusCrewSC.com (English & Spanish).