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Report from the Practice Pitch: Preseason

Here are some notes from media availability during Wednesday's practice and comments from head coach and sporting director Gregg Berhalter, assistant coach Josh Wolff, and defender Josh Williams

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  • During the end of practice scrimmage, Michael Parkhurst hit a rocket shot upper 90. This was on a small field with full-size goals, but a nice shot nonetheless.
  • Federico Higuain was not in on the final portion of practice and left in street clothes before it concluded. Berhalter said he had a heel issue and left a little early, but that it's not something significant.
  • Matt Lampson returned to practice after taking himself out of Tuesday's session. Berhalter asked him how he did today as they passed and he said he was fine.
  • Dominic Oduro wore the captain's armband at the end of training

Berhalter Update

  • Berhalter said new defender Michael Parkhurst is doing a great job fitting in with the team since joining after his time with the U.S. national team. Said he leads by example and does a good job instructing other players, "semi-vocal."
  • Said that one individual doesn't have to step up to be a leader, that leaders will emerge organically as this group gets more comfortable with each other.
  • Stated that they would like Oduro to take on a veteran leadership role because he's been in the league for so long. Said what he remembered about defending him was his pace.
  • Berhalter doesn't look at preseason results but does want production. Said he wants to see what they're working on in practice translate to the games. Did say they want to be competitive in every game, but doesn't look at results.
  • In terms of naming captains, Berhalter said they will evaluate it and see what is the best fit for the team.

Josh Wolff

  • Wolff said preseason around the league is pretty similar in his experience. Players bond while getting through the tough sessions and they are working on getting their quality back.
  • They've been working a lot on fitness and strengthening these players to keep them healthy this season.
  • Said Berhalter brings "a real detail to the job" and they want to relay that to the players.
  • When he became a coach, he wanted to provide confidence to players. Players know he and Berhalter have had success in their playing days.
  • When asked about playing in Columbus Crew Stadium, Wolff said the World Cup Qualifying goal he scored against Mexico in 2001 was very memorable for him and U.S. Soccer. Said he always enjoyed playing in Crew Stadium.
  • He said this team has a new identity going forward, but likes where they are.

Josh Williams

  • Said the transition to the new regime has all been good so far. Mentioned that the level of intensity has increased. "We have a young group, I think it's very important for us to come in and get the most out of every training and I feel like we've done that so far."
  • Mentioned the level of organization is different. Things are very organized and he appreciates that.
  • He joked that he's not one of the older guys, but he did admit to start feeling like a veteran in his fifth season. Says he wants to bring a "family atmosphere" to make everyone feel comfortable.
  • Williams said because the team doesn't have millions of dollars to spend on players, they have to outwork everyone. He believes they are doing that so far.
  • He said everyone along the back line is fighting for the four spots. There is no starting four yet and that's making everyone work harder.