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Practice Pitch Updates

Despite a big win last weekend and the bye week, the Columbus Crew were still out working hard on Thursday.

Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

When the portion of training the media is allowed to observe began, the Crew worked on a small sided possession drill. The team was broken up into two groups playing on either side of the field. Within the groups, were three teams with different color vests playing keep away, two teams against one until one color gives away possession.

Head Coach Gregg Berhalter gathered the team once this was completed and started a full team drill. The players lined up by position with Berhalter in the middle and an assistant coach as a point man. He played the ball to the assistant, who laid the ball back to Berhalter. At the same times, the outside midfielder and outside back made runs forward and Berhalter played different balls which they had to cross.

They worked on a few variations of this drill in order to work on these quick one and two touch plays that get the ball in front of goal quickly, similar to the first goal on Saturday.

Finally, they worked on a simple finishing drill where a coach laid the ball off to a player from either side of the box and who struck a first time shot. The teams were split by sides and the coaches kept score. The team coming from the left, making striking with their right foot, won both times.

Conversation with Berhalter

  • Said the team was pretty healthy. Noted that Michael Parkhurst has a small calf strain but said it was nothing to worry about. Did say that Daniel Paladini had made progress coming back from injury and may play a small part in tomorrow's scrimmage with the NAIA All-Stars.
  • He said tomorrow's scrimmage would be a mixture of first and reserve team players.
  • The NAIA All-Stars contacted the Crew and they thought it would be a good opportunity to just play. The two scrimmages this week (tied Notre Dame 2-2 on Wednesday) allows them to get players who didn't see much or any time on Saturday some minutes. Also allows them to work on the team's movement.
  • Berhalter said they want to play a certain way. If they have the ball and keep it, the opponent can't score. He said that the short distribution from goalkeeper Steve Clark was a product of that.
  • Said they practice moving the ball fast and that's how they want to play. He said it was impressive that they won the possession and passes battle with D.C. United because the trailing team usually sees more of the ball.
  • He said everyone in this formation has a part. They needed everyone moving and understanding their role in order for it to work the way they want.
  • Berhalter understands that success plays a large role in building the passion in the city of Columbus, but so does included the fans in things. They are proud to be in Columbus and want more of Columbus to become fans. Said he's played on a couple of teams (in Holland and Germany) where the town really rallies around the team.
  • Said the drills from practice can translate on the field (like on Saturday's first goal), but the players have to understand their positioning and where they can be and how to react how others move.
  • Said Josh Williams' confidence is really high. Believes despite a great performance, they need to keep working with him on the right back position and he's very receptive to the feedback.
  • He said Jario Arrieta's road to the World Cup with Costa Rica will be scoring goals for the Crew.