As the media were escorted on to the practice pitch at the Columbus Crew's Obetz trailing facility, the team was playing a small-sided 7 v. 7 game on a small field, less than half of an actual soccer field. The players were separated into three teams with Federico Higuain playing an all-time offensive role. The team that was not on the field was working on some core exercises on the side.
The point of the drill seemed to be working in tight spaces and moving the ball quickly. When a goalkeeper got the ball, he would rapidly distribute and the possessing team would attack. The ball went wide frequently, as players looked for open space and tried to get the ball in front of goal.
The coaches stood at different areas outside the field providing instructions and feedback.
U.S. U-18 National Team and Crew Academy player Ben Swanson trained with the Black and Gold today. He participated in the 7 v. 7 and did not look out of place with the older players.
Conversation With Gregg Berhalter
- The Crew's head coach and sporting director said the scrimmage on Friday over the NAIA All-Stars (a 6-0 win) was a continued exercise to work on the team's movement. Said the players gave great effort and called it a good exercise.
- He said midfielder Daniel Paladini had his knee scoped today after an MRI Friday revealed something that needed to be cleaned out. He should be back in three or four weeks. Said Paladini was glad they discovered something, a slight tear.
- Said Michael Parkhurst's calf was doing pretty good after missing some drills last week.
- Of Swanson, Berhalter said they want to bring him around and expose him to this level so he is prepared. Said he did well and was fine out there. Also noted that if he's good enough to play he could be added and there are a number of guys they are keeping their eye on.
- With Dominic Oduro available, Berhalter said it's a matter of where and when he will be on the field helping the team. It has been a good balance with the team so far and they have to find a way to work him in. Said he had a big role to play with this team. Also mentioned he was used as a forward in the scrimmage.
- With the way they've been playing, it is difficult to change things even though Oduro is back. He said it's a long season and more than 11 guys will play a role on this team this season.
- Of Fabinho, the Union's left back, Berhalter said he likes the way he plays. Called him strong in the tackle and dynamic.
- Said he went to Philadelphia to watch the Union's game with the New England Revolution (1-0 Union win). He believes they have a good group of four attacking players that they will have to keep an eye on. Mentioned their speed on the wings with the two fullbacks and said they are expecting a really good game.