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Practice Pitch Updates

As the Crew continue to prepare for their trip to Seattle, here are some updates from Wednesday's practice.

Douglas C. Pizac-USA TODAY Sport

When the media members entered practice the Columbus Crew was playing their seven v. seven small field games. Per usual, the players had been divided into three teams and the team off the field was working on some exercises. The main note from that was Dominic Oduro's presence on the right wing and not up top, though he has played that before in practice.

After that, most of the players were divided into four groups: right sided wide players, left sided wide players, and two central player groups as well as a group of two on either side, midfielder and outside back. They played the ball on the ground from a winger on one side to the opposite side central player, who played it to the outside back on his side. The back played a one-two with the closest midfielder, making a run in behind the invisible defender, before delivering the cross, looking for the four players making a run.

This is another one of those set plays to keep an eye out for. Working the ball around the midfield or the back line on the ground before trying to get the ball wide, playing quick combinations, and deliver a cross to those making the runs in the box.

Players of note

Michael Parkhurst - Had a nose for goal in the second drill, scoring at least twice.

Bernardo Anor - Not resting on his two goals and MLS Player of the Week honors, Anor looked good in the drills and then setup a wall and began practice free kicks on his own after practice was concluded.

Conversation with Gregg Berhalter

  • Berhalter said he was pleased with Saturday's game, few days after the fact. Mentioned he was pleased with some things, such as being number one in the league in passing percentage and forward passes. He wants to keep improving and that's part of the process.
  • Said it was good that the Philadelphia Union put them under a lot of pressure. Called it a good experience and it was the most pressure they had seen, including the preseason.
  • Explaining on a post-game comment that the Union game was a "Steve Clark's type of game," Berhalter said that he meant a tight game where he needed to come up with some big saves. In situations where you think the opponent is going to score, Clark can come up with the save to keep you in the game. Said Clark has plenty of confidence but these things help the team's confidence in him as a new player.
  • Pointed out that the Seattle Sounders are probably one of the favorites to win the championship and it will be a difficult game for the Crew.
  • Berhalter does not believe there are any easy games in MLS. Says all teams have a tough opening schedule and he doesn't see any easy games looking down into the future. Says that's what makes the games exciting.
  • In regards to the Sounders' turf, Berhalter said it changes the game but not in a negative way and there are a lot of advantages to turf. Pointed out the old cliche that both teams will have to play on it but wouldn't say it gives them an advantage, as they practiced at Super Kick and Westerville Central throughout the preseason.
  • When asked about Bernardo Anor's Twitter picture holding the Venezuelan flag with teammates (to show support for the unrest in the country), Berhalter said it is difficult. He was abroad on September 11 and being from New York, that was difficult for him. He understands what Anor is going through.
  • Said they've looked at tape and seen times in the first two games where they can improve on their movement and such. Said they want to keep the ball and aren't afraid to play backwards. Going to Seattle, they want to see if they can play their game.