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Wednesday and Thursday's Practice Pitch Updates

Two training session updates in one. It doesn't get much better than that.

Douglas C. Pizac-USA TODAY Sport

As I was unable to post about Wednesday's Columbus Crew training session, I will report on the last two days together.

The Crew concluded an 8 v. 8 drill on Wednesday as the media entered with three rotating teams. The competition was high and the battles were tough. There were multiple slide tackling and players holding each other accountable. This drill did not last very long before some conditioning began.

Thursday was a lighter day according to Head Coach Gregg Berhalter. The players were working on some long balls and crossing, with some goofing around thrown in, to conclude practice.

Notes

On Wednesdays, the three-man back lines of the 8 v. 8 teams were a mixed group for each team. Only one line had more than one starter, in order for the players to get used to playing with others.

Jairo Arrieta had a nice powerful finish as he stepped away from the defender, turned quickly and put a low shot back post. It was good to see him get a goal like that to build confidence when he is needed.

Dominic Oduro walked off the field early. He did so under his own power, but did not return.

Wednesday's Conversation with Berhalter

  • Berhalter talked about getting the outside backs into the attack and said they have been working on the accuracy of the crosses. He said the goal against the San Jose Earthquakes was what they wanted.
  • Of Waylon Francis, Berhalter said he fit in with the guys right away. Called him vocal and he gives a tremendous effort.
  • Said he saw a lot more from Oduro in the game against the Earthquakes and called his performance strong. Berhalter said part of it was the team getting used to how he plays. They found him in better spots and made him more dangerous. He admitted they aren't a team that plays on the counter so he won't be useful there, but he can be useful nonetheless.
  • Asked about Oduro leaving early, Berhalter said he tweaked something in practice but nothing to be worried about. Also said Josh Williams was fine.
  • Berhatler said he thought it was pretty good that they've had the majority of possession in their road games considering they've only dropped two points.
  • Said he spoke to Giancarlo Gonzalez privately about his incident with Chris Wondolowski.
  • Admitted the Crew lost their focus a bit on the corners to start the second half. Called Wondolowski's run on the goal "pretty good movement."

Thursday's Conversation

  • Asked about the differences of D.C. United from game one to now, Berhalter said they're a good team. Pointed to their two wins a row. He said they've made a couple of changes to their lineup and are playing well.
  • Berhalter said he doesn't think revenge will be too big of a motivational tool for United. He said they want to come here and win the game. Said the Crew are preparing like they didn't beat them.
  • Berhalter praised the Nordecke for their support throughout the Toronto FC game and after the loss. He said the entire team really appreciated the support and he loved that they could lose a game and still get cheered on by the fans.
  • Said Oduro was involved training today despite a knock to his ankle. Said he would expect him to be available Saturday. Said both Arrieta and Adam Bedell have been doing really well if needed.
  • Berhalter credited Bedell's place in the top three forwards to how hard he's worked. Said he's a big guy with good, soft feet.
  • Called D.C.'s last game, a 1-0 win over the New York Red Bulls where they scored in the fourth minute, a character test for them because they had to hang for the majority of the game. Said those games go a long way over the course of the regular season.