After a 3-3 road tie with the Portland Timbers on Saturday and a 2-0 win in a friendly with the Dayton Dutch Lions on Tuesday, the Columbus Crew had their first practice of the week on Wednesday in preparation for their Eastern Conference clash with rivals Chicago Fire.
To conclude training, head coach Gregg Berhalter had his players in a half field 7 v. 6, where the defensive team - with six players - was looking to win the ball back and get it to midfield, while the attackers attempted to score. The four goalkeepers on hand rotated.
Following the conclusion of that drill, the team worked on a finishing and crossing drill designed to work on the movement and combination of the wingers and the overlapping fullbacks. There were coaches on either side of the field acting as a defender for the opposition and coaching Justin Meram and Chad Barson on one side and Hector Jimenez and Josh Williams on the other.
The team finished with some core work before heading to a lifting session.
The crossing drill began rather sloppy, with poor touches and inaccurate crosses. As the players continued through the drill, they seemed to get more comfortable and things were cleaned up by the coaching staff.
Wil Trapp finished two chances on the crossing drill. One in particular was a nice short chip over the goalkeeper that he then easily put away. Trapp came close to scoring his first career goal two games ago against the Vancouver Whitecaps and has shown an ability in front of goal in practice.
Conversation with Berhalter
- Asked about this weekend's opponent, Berhalter pointed out, the Fire are a team that's bounced back from early adversity. He said their attack has been good and pointed specifically to Mike Magee - who Berhalter played with in L.A. Said he's difficult to get your hands on and has really good vision.
- Berhalter said rookie Harry Shipp is a guy he's admired for a while because he was training at Hammarby IF in Sweden while Berhalter was there. Said he knows him well and always thought a lot of him.
- Of Trapp, Berhalter said he has a leadership personality and they are trying to get him comfortable in that role. He said it was pretty good that Trapp has earned that responsibility at such a young age.
- Berhalter said he realized early on that Trapp could be a leader due to his familiarity with a lot of players on the team, either from college or before. He said they felt he could handle it.
- The head coach said there has still not been a decision on Kevan George staying with the Crew or returning to Dayton.
- Berhalter said Agustin Viana has a stomach virus and that's why he didn't play against the Dutch Lions and was not at practice today.
- Asked about finally scoring goals against the Timbers but conceding three, Berhalter was quick to point out that Portland hasn't lost at home in 21 games. He also noted that they replaced two national team players in their defense so he knew there would be some errors. He believes the players that came in - Barson and Tyson Wahl - did well.
- Berhalter said they are disappointed to not have taken three points back from Portland. On a different day they would have won he said.
- The head coach said they have decisions to make about the lineup after the friendly and seeing players in game action. He also said there were no additional injuries from the Dutch Lions game.