As the media entered practice, the Columbus Crew were working on finishing and crossing and the team was separated into four groups beginning about 18 yards from goal. Each round of the drill began with the right central player's shot on goal. Once he shot, the player on the left side would dribble through a series of cones and fire a shot. The ball was then played out wide by the left central player and he and the left winger made near and far post crossing runs in an attempt to finish the cross from wide. As soon as there was a shot from that series of play, a ball was played from the end line to a central player for a shot.
This was obviously a drill for players to work on finishing and crossing form different angles, as they rotated where they began, but also for each goalkeeper to respond quickly to shots. Once a 'keeper made a save, he was quickly back up to attempt the stop on the next one.
As some players dispersed to the locker room, others stayed and worked on different shots and long passes on their own. Pat Onstad worked with the goalkeepers as well, having them make save on different level shots.
Bernard Anor had a couple of nice finishes during training, especially getting on the end of crosses. Waylon Francis showed some ability in front of goal that has not been seen in game action due to his position out wide. He had good control on incoming crosses and demonstrated good power on his shots.
Federico Higuain did not participate while the media was permitted to watch but was working on core exercises and stretching. Gregg Berhalter said he pulled himself out part way through the drill but not due to any injury issue. Dominic Oduro was taking part in the drill. He said he was doing 3/4 of the work and felt good. Berhalter said he still wasn't sure his availability for Saturday's game with Toronto F.C. because they didn't know how the charley horse in the quad would respond to today's work.
Academy goalkeeper Parker Siegfried took part in training today. In the limited action presented, the high school junior looked a little nervy but did make a couple of saves. Berhalter said they wanted to get him in and experience the professional level.
Conversation with Berhalter
- Berhalter said he was hopeful for Oduro this weekend. Said they are confident in the guys they have if they need someone else to fill in. Mention Jario Arrieta and Adam Bedell by name.
- Asked about he absence of Aaron Schoenfeld from training, Berhalter said that it was simply due to the Dayton Dutch Lions having a short period of time between games. He has only played a half for the Crew and they want him to get minutes at this point.
- Talking about Michael Parkhurst with the U.S. team, Berhalter said he is happy for Parkhurst and thinks he can stake his claim for the World Cup. Said he will go into camp with confidence. Even playing a different position, Berhalter is glad he's getting game rhythm. He wasn't doing that over the last year and that's a plus.
- Speaking about Toronto F.C., Berhalter said they have one of the top strikers in the league, pointing out that Defoe has scored all three of their goals. Admitted they have to game plan for a player like that. Said he's been playing at a very high level for a long time and he will have to be watched. They want to limit his clear chances, the ones he's expected to make.
- Called Michael Bradley one of the best midfielders in the league and it would be a good challenge for his central midfielders.
- Said they want to tie the thread through the Academy players and let the players see how it is at this level and how they respond.