1. After such a hot start to 2014, the Crew have flustered a bit with a loss and three ties in their past four matches. What's changed since the first few games and how do they get back on track?
I think the hot start was indicative of teams not knowing what to expect from the Crew with a new coaching staff and some new faces. Head coach Gregg Berhalter's style was something new from the Crew and it took a bit for teams to combat it. Toronto FC laid out a blue print of sorts in their 2-0 win in Crew Stadium. By scoring early and then parking the bus, they forced Columbus wide and were able to use their size on the back line to clear away any crosses.
In terms of getting back on track, I think the players are confident wins will come. They were disappointed to not get a win last week against the New York Red Bulls and talked about finishing the chances they create post game. There is a belief they can get a result in any game, but they also know this is a process and they are still learning.
2. Aurelien Collin is going to be out saturday for Sporting KC on red card suspension. How do you expect the Crew to attack this vulnerability?
I don't expect the Black and Gold to do anything differently to be honest. One of the most uttered sentences from the team to the media is, "We're just going to play our style." The Crew will look to possess the ball and attack Kansas City with their movement and quickness and would do the same with Collin in the lineup. Obviously taking a player of Collin's caliber out of the lineup makes things easier on paper, but I don't see Berhalter focusing in on spot all that much. If anything, it will make it a little easier on Columbus' striker.
3. How would you rate Gregg Berhalter's performance so far? What are the biggest differences between him and Robert Warzycha?
I think Berhalter, along with new owner Anthony Precourt, has been the breath of fresh air this team needed. Many believed the talent was there to be in the playoffs last year, but something wasn't right. The players seem to enjoy every day at training this season and there is a sense that this job is fun for them again. I think pressure built for Warzycha and everyone involved with the team felt it.
Berhalter has adopted a style of play that is hard work, but fun for the players. The team bought in to his philosophies right away and they have seen results on the field. It is apparent to anyone around the team that there is a sense of confidence in the system and the players that didn't seem to be there last year. That perhaps is the biggest difference.