1) Ever since the first three games of the season where the Crew won all three, Columbus has only won one game. Why is that and how do they go about fixing that?
That is the question surrounding the Black and Gold. The 4-1 defeat to the New York Red Bulls on Saturday aside, the coaches and players have been happy with their style of play in many of the games. The Crew have tied multiple times when they felt they should have won, but that's soccer.
Their biggest issue of late has been an inability to score. This is something the coaching staff is well aware of and I would expect them to address the need in the transfer window. Of course, the team was exposed defensively Saturday, albeit against one of the league's most dynamic attacks. The return of Giancarlo Gonzalez and Waylon Francis from the World Cup should help on that side of the ball, but the Black and Gold desperately need to find a consistent goal scorer or else they cannot possibly turn these ties into wins.
2) How does the release of Alvaro Rey change the tactics and lineup for the Crew?
Honestly, Rey only made two appearances for the team, logging just 32 minutes. He did have one very nice ball to Jairo Arrieta for what should have been his first assist in a Crew uniform, but he didn't play enough for anything to change much. The biggest downside of Rey's departure is it leaves Columbus a little thin on the wings with Hector Jimenez out with an MCL tear. Fortunately, Justin Meram, Bernardo Anor, the emergence of Ethan Finlay, and a few players who could play out of position on the outside if needed, give the Crew have decent rotational depth on the wings.
Berhalter admitted today they were disappointed to see Rey go. He was someone they felt could contribute once he adjusts to the style of play and gets to know those around him. This may be coach talk or it may be true, but Crew fans will never know because he didn't have enough time to demonstrate that on the pitch.
3) How would you rate the performance of Gregg Berhalter so far?
B+ so far. That probably sounds high for a coach who has one win in 16 games, and it may be, but I think he has this team moving in the right direction long term. Rome wasn't built in a day and neither is a successful small market soccer team (as I'm sure your fans know). Berhalter wants his team to play attractive soccer and attack home or away. For the most part this year, they have accomplished that. He does not have all his personnel yet, but this team has an identity they didn't before.
Also, the players still believe in this system. Just today I asked defender Chad Barson about the feeling around the team and he told me they don't want to change anything. They know they have done some good things this year and trust the coaching staff and their methods. Getting a team to buy in like that may be one of the hardest things for a coach to do and Berhalter has done that in just half a season.
Read my answers to Massive Report's questions here.