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Thursday's Practice Pitch Updates

The Crew returned to Columbus Crew Stadium for their Thursday practice, getting in an early morning training session in windy conditions.

Douglas C. Pizac-USA TODAY Sport

Day two of preparation for Sunday's match with Sporting Kansas City occurred on Thursday. The Columbus Crew split up to work on different drills as the media entered the field.

Most of the forwards and some of the other attacking options were on one end of the pitch, working on shots. Each time, the ball was played in to assistant coach Josh Wolff, who laid it off for the shot, but the players were instructed on different runs. Obstacles were setup and moved around to act as defenders and the attackers had to make runs in behind to latch on to the ball before having a rip.

On the opposite end, some of the players worked on getting the ball wide and delivering crosses in. Adam Bedell and some of the midfielders made runs to get on the end of the crosses and different plays and situations were worked on.

After the formal drills were completed, many of the players remained on the field for a fun game of Knock the Barbasol Can from the Top of the Goal. Crew staff members placed the can above the right upper 90 (from a shooter's perspective) and the players took turns attempting to hit the can, not just knock it off. Goalkeeper Matt Lampson came close, but it was his position mate Brad Stuver who ultimately made contact and won the can of shaving cream.

Notes

Hector Jimenez returned to training and head coach Gregg Berhalter stated that the midfielder was fine after taking a knock and skipping the end of drills on Wednesday.

Ethan Finlay had multiple nice finishes during the shooting drill. The midfielder created good opportunities for himself in Wednesday's 7 v. 7, but was unable to find the net.

Conversation with Berhalter

  • Asked about the return of Bernardo Anor this week, after missing last week through suspension, Berhalter said it gives them more depth and also complimented the player on his performances, saying it makes their decisions more difficult.
  • Berhatler said Anor gets in good positions for them and has been performing well all year. He commented on his physical abilities, stating he has a lot of positive qualities.
  • He says they have a lot of flexibility as a coaching staff because each player in this position brings different qualities they can use.
  • Berhalter said the game against Kansas City, defending MLS Cup Champions, is the same as other games. He said the occasion will be bigger because the game is on national television and they are the champions. He said it would be a tough game and the team would be up for it.
  • The coach said this team tries to avoid the highs and lows and focuses on the next game.
  • Asked about Sporting's midfield, Berhalter pointed out their national team players, calling them a difficult group to play against. Said there is a good mix between physicality and skill.
  • Berhalter said their quick transition to attack last week sets them up similarly for this week. He believes they will have opportunities but they won't come easy. The team will stay focused on how they play.
  • Asked about the flank players deciding when to go back, Berhalter said they want to execute in the final ball. He wants the attacks finished in shots so the team has time to recover back defensively.

Gregg Berhalter Practice May 01 14