Friday, August 28, 2009

8/28/09: Bad Results Happen To Good Teams. Next Step, Picking Oneself Off Of The Pavement

Bad results happen to the best of teams.

Manchester United isn't supposed to lose to Burnley 1-0. Columbus may be expected to lose to Cruz Azul in Mexico, but certainly not 5-0, which was a bit of a system shock.

Surely a shock to the players, the organization, the fans, and even MLS; as Don Garber(not usually designated as the Crew's number one fan) was even talking the Crew up pre-match. It was especially a shock to fans who lauded the Columbus side to Cruz Azul's confident fans, saying that Los Cementos fans should be scared of the Crew more than they should be of Saprissa. Might of been a shock even to Mexican writer Karina Xicotencatl at Miedotempo who predicted the Crew as favorites based on the two sides form coming into Wednesday's game.

When it comes down to it. It's one game that at some point in preparations and stepping on the field, the Crew were just not prepared for. It could be based on an unfamiliarity with altitude, playing internationally(the Crew has an illustrous history of six international games), nerves, and multiple other psychological barriers. All of these roadblocks combined into a lack of focus(or a bad game plan) in the beginning which led to two goals in ten minutes. And, that first 10 minutes was crucial to defining the rest of the contest as the Crew's minds were out of it at that point and Cruz Azul had free reign to terrorize for the rest of the night.

Crew fans were upset about it, as I'm sure Manchester United fans get upset by losing to Burnley. I got upset about it because I just worked for nine hours with kids facing troubled pasts, had a long long day of previous apartments charging me for carpet stains on carpet that was getting replaced anyways, had problems registering for graduate classes, missed watching the game, and came home at 1 a.m. to 5-0 Crew drubbing highlights. At that point, I was thinking "god hates me." Without all the other stuff, I'm sure a lot of Crew fans were just pissed about the result and that's fair. People get pissed when something they love doesn't work out like they would of hoped.

Some Crew fans had harsh words. I had some harsh words after typing up something quick being in a daze after work. The responses in the comments section said I and others were too harsh from saying it was a performance of amateurs, but Wednesday was a bit amateurish and that's okay, it happens. If I was a team and I had to equate my bad days to a record, I would probably be just above Red Bull New York, I hope. We just put a lot of stock in the Massive club and it was just a disappointing performance that takes a few days to get over. It was a performance that won't be proving MLS's quality to outsiders around the world and in our own country and we all believe the Crew is the team to do it. Sure, it was a bit much from myself and others as the result doesn't really spell doom in even the group tournament, as the majority of Crew fans(including myself) wouldn't have been surprised with a loss in Mexico going into the game on Wednesday anyways.

But, it's just the type of reaction from supporters who have been suffocated with recent success. When their team finally loses supporters are brought back down to Earth and they don't know how to react when they realize even a Massive team has an off night. But, for every bad night, the Crew show up when it really matters, like their 3-2 last second win to hold onto the Trillum Cup. The Crew will redeem themselves when it matters in this tournament and I'm sure they are even more upset with their performance, than any fan could be.

And, obviously I wouldn't spend a good sliver of my life writing Crew stories, making banners, making videos, and improving this website if I believed they were really amateurs. I wouldn't spend most of the week saying the Crew will beat Cruz Azul and win in Mexico, if I believed they were amateurs. But, I'm sure even Manchester United fans said their performance was that of amateurs against Burnley. And, really for the Nordecke, they are our heroes and when a hero wins almost every day, it's hard to swallow a loss when you need them to win the most on the international scene.

Results like Wednesday just sting for a couple of days. Just like the Real Salt Lake game stung for the vast majority of Crew fans, because we all know the Massive is better.

And, the Crew rose up after the 4-1 loss to Real Salt Lake and have gone on to recapture first place in their division. No one would have expected that at the end of April. They are capable of rising up again and having some good performances against Cruz Azul and Saprissa in the future of group play. It's just up to them to prove the doubters wrong. I believe they will. They got slapped hard by Cruz Azul. But, what hurts makes you stronger. The Crew will come out Sunday hungry to wipe that defeat from the fans minds. Also, good luck to whatever Cruz Azul team shows up to Columbus in September, they will need it to get a result.

Looking at it. If the Crew lost in Cruz Azul 3-2, or 2-1. The Crew may not be too ticked off about it and might of lost at home in September against Cruz Azul as well. But, losing 5-0 to anyone, puts a big circle on that game down the road. The Crew will be hungry to avenge that defeat.

When we advance out of the group at the end of October, losing 5-0 at Cruz Azul might have been the trigger in giving us that one decisive win at home against Cruz Azul, instead of two losses.


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