The Columbus Crew returned to the practice pitch on Tuesday after suffering their first loss of the season last weekend to Toronto FC. Now they begin preparation for Sunday's afternoon kickoff with the San Jose Earthquakes.
As media availability began, the Crew were finishing up a large field (still not quite full field) drill that was similar to a scrimmage.
The forwards, midfielders, and outside backs then went to one half of the field and the center backs went to the other. The attack-minded players worked on crossing and finishing. In the drill, the ball started out wide and was worked around through the central midfield players. The outside back and the outside midfielder made runs forward and the central midfielder then played a through ball to the outside back. He delivered the cross to the runners made up of the striker and the midfielders.
The center backs worked on clearing the ball from the box. Balls were played in from different angles and at different heights and they were instructed on how to handle the different situations.
The majority of the balls played in were low and that seemed to be the goal of the drill after Saturday's poor crossing performance.
Rookie Ben Sweat delivered multiple nice crosses, operating from the left wing back position.
Federico Higuain spent most of the drill rotating in as one of the central midfielders.
Midfielder Daniel Paladini was involved in the drills and doing much more than he was last week (more on that below).
Coversation with Gregg Berhalter
- The Crew head coach said he though last week's training was good but they were a little too calm going into the game. Said this taught them a good lesson. There are times to push the group and time to when you let them take control and he believed the coaches could have pushed the players more ahead of the match.
- Emphasized again that they were complacent to start the game.
- He is hoping that the reaction this week is similar to other weeks where the team continues to improve.
- Berhalter said he didn't think the attitude was that good and he addressed that, as well as their lack of aggression, during his halftime talk. This was after being satisfied with the team's play despite trailing in Seattle.
- The complacency last week does not necessarily mean there will be lineup changes. Berhalter said they look at performance each week through games and training.
- Berhalter said you never need a loss, they always want to win. He said it's better to learn from wins.
- He said Toronto played a great game but there was no question that he was disappointed that they loss that game, especially at home.
- There are two ways to look at when to handle the players after a poor performance. The first is to look at the group that began the game and require them to show it will be different and what they've learned from this outing. The other is, it wasn't good enough and we're going to make changes. Berhalter said they haven't decided which way they will go.
- Asked about Oduro's performance, Berhalter said it was a difficult game for him because of their game plan. He won't thrive on 39 crossed balls and they have to get him into the game and get him going.
- Berhalter said an extra day will be a little different because it gives them some more time to prepare. They will use the extra day wisely.
- Asked about Paladini, Berhalter said he's doing alright. They are trying to get him back and fit because Berhalter believes he can help the team. He wasn't sure on any time frame and wasn't sure about this weekend's availability.
- Asked about Ryan Finley not being in the 18 and a possible injury with the Dayton Dutch Lions, Berhalter heard that he has a minor injury and they're working to get him back in. Called it not serious.