It's no secret that the Crew has been struggling to score goals.

It’s no secret that the Crew has been struggling to score goals. The Crew enters the weekend saddled with a three-game shutout streak, and coach Gregg Berhalter has said that lineup changes are on tap.

With the Crew headed to Portland, Berhalter has had to play psychologist a bit more this week than at other points during the season.

“I would say right now a lot of the issues are between our ears,” he said. “We’re not a different team all of a sudden. We haven’t been playing that differently all of a sudden. It’s mostly up here, and that’s what we’re trying to get the guys to realize is to relax and play. We have some good talent and we’ve been putting some good performances in and it’s about relaxing and playing.

“You’re not happy with it. It’s obviously something you think about, but it’s also something where we know where this group is and we know where we have to go with this group and how we have to develop. We feel like it’s a work in progress and because of that, it’s not something that is that worrying because we feel like we’ve made good progress so far.”

The statistics have told the story (for all the numbers, click here). Offensively, the Crew is tied for the second-worst scoring average in Major League Soccer at an even 1.00 goals per game. Only Montreal, with a league-low nine points, is worse at 0.87 goals per game.

It’s a big part of the reason why the Crew is 3-4-3 and on a seven-game winless streak despite boasting the fourth-stingiest defense that is allowing only 1.10 goals per game. Despite the situation, defender Josh Williams said the back line is not feeling extra pressure to start posting shutouts.

“Defensively we feel confident,” he said. “We’ve talked this whole week coming off a bad stretch that there is a confidence. It’s not one of those fake (feelings). You can feel that we’re all still together. We just want to stick to our system. There’s not too much pressure on the defense. We know we’re going to have a solid performance and as soon as the offense starts clicking we’re going to start seeing some of those 1-0 games go our way.”

As an outside back, Williams is a key part of the offense as well in Berhalter’s system. He has started all 10 games at right back and assisted on the first goal of the season but has just the one assist. Left back Waylon Francis likewise has one assist.

“Obviously the offense, we’ve been struggling,” Williams said. “I’m up there. I’m in the habit of bad service, too. I feel the pressure offensively because I have a part in that. I’m not the guy who can sit there and point and say, ‘Why aren’t we scoring?’ because a lot of the balls have come from me. Offensively we are struggling a little bit but it’s early in the year.”

This year, the Crew has two fewer goals after 10 games than it did last season. In addition to a lack of wins, forward Jairo Arrieta’s lack of production in part likely cost him a spot on the Costa Rica national team for the World Cup.

“I’m going to be working hard here,” Arrieta said through an interpreter. “That’s the most important thing right now. I have a family I have to be accountable for, for the team, and we’re in a tough situation right now. The most important thing is to bounce back and get some games.”

At this point, Berhalter said much of the problem is mental.

“Listen, you do lose confidence,” he said. “There’s no question about it. I’ve been there as a player. Confidence makes a huge difference on performance. I’m right there with the guys. I understand what they’re going through.”

And given that, Berhalter said the first goal Saturday will be huge.

“Traditionally I’m a guy that loves shutouts and prides myself on shutouts, but we’re a team that plays different than I played, I’ll tell you that,” he said. “I think our defense has been doing a great job if you look at where we’re at in terms of goals against. It’s been pretty good."