The Columbus Crew didn't spend much time out on the practice field after the media entered Columbus Crew Stadium. As the rain poured down, the players worked on shots and long balls in groups, but quickly called it a day.
Not much to report due to the lack of drills at practice. Dominic Oduro was in training again after going 75% on Wednesday, but more on that below.
Conversation with Gregg Berhalter
- Berhalter said part of international soccer is playing Saturday and Wednesday. They expect Michael Parkhurst to come back from international duty and maybe be tired, but ready to play. Berhalter said it can be tough but players are usually excited due to playing with their national team.
- He said Parkhurst had a good performance, called him one of the more solid defenders in the game. He was surprised to see him on the left as opposed to the right side of the defense. He believes Saturday's game may be a little slower because it isn't at an international level so he will be thinking faster and can build on his performance.
- Asked about the recent weather changes, Berhalter said he is still getting used to Ohio. They were excited on Tuesday with the temperature in the 60s and now they're back to square one.
- Called Michael Bradley the best midfielder in the league. Said they would have to be concentrated and aware going up against him and they want to put him in uncomfortable positions. He said it will be a measuring stick for Tony Tchani and Wil Trapp and he's excited to see how they do.
- Said that Bradley is all over the place and they have to limit the damage he can do.
- When told about the reports that Jermain Defoe is out for the game, Berhalter responded, "Really? That's great." Called him arguably the best forward in the league and it will obviously help the Crew if he doesn't play. Said Toronto has other options up top and named Dwayne De Rosario and Gilberto.
- Asked about Toronto defender Steven Caldwell being suspended, Berhalter said they have good depth on the back line. Admitted that the Reds will miss his leadership but they have guys who can fill in.
- Berhalter doesn't believe he can read too much into their preseason win over Toronto.
- In regards to Toronto's 3-0 loss last weekend to Real Salt Lake, Berhalter said he knows from experience that it is tough to play in Salt Lake. He said they are keying in on all three games, as they played well against D.C. United and the Seattle Sounders.
- Told that the Nordecke sold out on Tuesday, Berhalter said, "that's awesome." Said they are absolutely looking forward to being in front of their home fans again. Also said soccer is all about away fans and they would love to have Toronto supporters here if they come to Crew Stadium.
- Called Tchani a very good soccer player and one of the better "defending central midfielders in the league" saying you can't get by him. He believes they need him to see that as well so he can become one of the better midfielders in the league. They need to get him to see his role so he can be more dominate at times.
- Said he though Oduro was doing well. They were going to talk to him after training but said they think he will be good.