There have been a lot of moments of brilliance from the 2023 Columbus Crew. There have also been moments of frustration as well. Those moments of brilliance tell you this team can win the MLS Cup. Those moments of frustration tell you this team has weaknesses that may keep them from winning the MLS Cup. In order to win a championship, they’re going to have to beat anyone put in front of them. The question is are the Crew capable of beating anyone? Julian Gressel certainly thinks so.
The German-born midfielder was one of those key July acquisitions made by Crew GM Tim Bezbatchenko and has fit in nicely so far with his new team. While appearing on Offside With Taylor Welman, Gressel was not shy about stating his confidence in the capabilities of his teammates,
“I think, if we are at our best, we can beat anybody in this league and I think we can win the MLS Cup.”
Ya know what, folks? He’s right. The Crew have shown they are very capable of beating anyone when they are at their best. Coming out of the Leagues Cup break, they completely dismantled Supporters Shield leader Cincinnati and easily handled playoff contender Montreal. The game against Orlando showed just how good and bad the Crew can be. Up 3-1 and in complete control as late as the 70th minute, they fell apart defensively after head coach Wilfried Nancy began to substitute and suffered an agonizing 4-3 loss. While that loss is frustrating, I believe it is still an example of how the Crew can play with anyone in the league.
Ok, I know what you’re thinking, “What about that loss to Houston??!!” I’ll give the team a bit of a pass on that one because it was a midweek game where Nancy went with, let’s say, an alternative lineup in stifling heat and humidity. Give the Dynamo credit for jumping all over the league’s best offense, but the Crew did not have their best eleven on the field.
When the Crew is at their best, they can beat anyone in the league. But, we are now at a time when they must be at their best always and not lapse into those frustrating moments.