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Wednesday's Practice Pitch Updates

The Crew continued their preparation for Sunday's game with the Red Bulls, but head coach Gregg Berhalter wasn't happy with his team's training.

Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

It was another gray and chilly day in Columbus but the Columbus Crew were still out on the training pitch. Many of the starters went to the locker room before the media were allowed in, but players like Federico Higuain, Justin Meram, Aaron Schoenfeld, and new sigining Kei Kamara, along with some other players remained out on the field working on crossing and finishing drills.


Kamara looked good finishing shots off crosses with three very different one-touch shots. Despite time between his previous club and joining the Crew, it is apparent Kamara remained sharp.

Conversation with head coach Gregg Berhalter

  • The questions opened with the news of Ben Swanson signing for Columbus. Berhalter said it was great to get the signing done and said it says a lot that they can take a player start at nine-years old and bring him up to the first team eight years later.
  • Berhalter said he knew Swanson's name before he arrived in Columbus, but wanted a chance to evaluate him live.
  • Berhalter said they will look at possibilities with Swanson. He said they have to see what impact he can make with the first team first and then take the necessary steps for his development. He can envision him coming to preseason with them next year and look to make an impact.
  • Berhalter said the question with Swanson was how they move him from where he is now to a pro and they decided it was to sign him.
  • When asked what the difference would be between playing professionally now or going to college, Berhalter said the length of the season. They want to get Swanson a higher workload so his body will adjust to the demands of the professional game.
  • Asked about the growth of Columbus soccer, which has produced Wil Trapp, Matt Lampson, Chad Barson, Ross Friedman, Matt Wiet, and now Swanson, Berhalter gave credit to the other club teams in the city who have also done well developing talent. He said it only helps the end product and the community to have Columbus-based players in the first team.
  • Of Swanson's potential role, Berhalter said he can play deep in central midfield or in an advanced role.
  • Berhalter said their second line of attack has done a great job this year behind the lone forward.
  • Berhalter said teams have game planned for Ethan Finlay. He pointed to last week where the Philadelphia Union used Fabinho on him to match up with his speed. Berhalter said Finlay is clever and he's a good finisher.
  • Berhalter said Emanuel Pogatetz, who made his first apperance on Saturday, role depends on where he is physically and the rest of the group.
  • Berhalter said Jairo Arrieta's been doing well in training and he's worked his way back. Said he was involved in all three goals, not just the winner that he scored. "He made the difference in that game for us."
  • Berhalter said he hasn't really seen the guys turn the page from last week's win to the New York Red Bulls game. He said he hasn't been that pleased with the first two days of training this week and that's why he was in a bad mood.
  • Berhalter hopes his team is looking for a bit of revenge as the Red Bulls gave the Crew their "worst loss of the season." He said if there's a competitive bone in your body, you want to makeup for getting beat badly and he hopes he doesn't have to instill that in the players.