The Columbus Crew practiced on the Columbus Crew Stadium pitch Wednesday as the light rain came down. As the media entered the field, the Crew were running their familiar 7 v. 7 drill. The team sitting out worked on stretching and other exercises on the sideline.
Jairo Arrieta and Federico Higuain were the two only goal scorers, both getting in behind the defense and finished efforts from close range. Dominic Oduro had a good opportunity while on the field with a ball over top of the defense, but his shot was over the crossbar.
Ethan Finlay was dangerous, getting behind the defense frequently. He still needs to work on the finishing touch but he is creating opportunities for himself.
Hector Jimenez went down after a tackle from Daniel Paladini. The midfielder stayed down holding his ankle and needed help off from the training staff. He did not return to the drill and was walking along the outside of the field gingerly while it finished. He did participate in the cool down and seemed to be moving a bit more freely.
Conversation with Gregg Berhalter
- Berhalter called this weekend, playing the defending MLS Cup Champions on national television, a great opportunity for his team. He said they're excited to play Sporting Kansas City, calling them one of the best teams in the league again this year.
- Asked about Sporting playing a similar style, Berhalter said they have a certain way to play but it isn't like Columbus'. He said while both teams are offensive oriented, Kansas City are bit more direct and very good on set pieces. He said they do have very good players in the middle and called it a tough game.
- Berhalter said they are not thinking about rotation with games coming in quick succession. They are taking it one game at a time. They will look at the next game when it comes, but they are focused on Sporting.
- He called all games challenges. He said he doesn't mind a defensive style. Called the New York Red Bulls game and fun game for the spectators, but he says there are challenges either way.
- He said the style they play is for the players because if he doesn't have players that can play that way, it won't work. They're trying to bring out the best in players.
- Asked about Oduro's role, Berhalter said he is important for this team. He said importance isn't about the number of minutes but by how you can contribute.
- Berhalter said Steve Clark has been doing a great job making saves for the Crew, he comes up with big saves and they know he can do that. The head coach called him a phenomenal leader and has been very steady. Berhalter said they saw this ability on the tape before they signed him.
- He said he was pleased with the New York game because of what they presented of themselves during the contest. He said he knows the group was disappointed because they didn't win and that shows that the expectations are growing and that the team expects to win games. He said he is a bit more patient than the the players because they have to still develop.