The Columbus Crew got back to work on Tuesday after their first win in eight games - 2-0 over the Chicago Fire on Saturday night. They now turn their focus to the team that handed them their first loss, Toronto FC
The Crew worked on 7 v. 7 as the media entered the compound with the teams divided into three groups. At the conclusion, some players headed to the locker room while others continued to work.
Some of the attacking players worked on finishing at one end of the pitch, while Wil Trapp and Daniel Paladini worked on long range shots on the opposite goal. It was difficult to tell as interviews were being conducted, but it appeared Palaini was giving the 21-year old advice, which is good to see from a veteran player who hasn't seem much time.
Conversation with Gregg Berhalter
- Berhalter was asked several questions about Federico Higuain's absence for Saturday's match with Toronto due to yellow card accumulation. He first said they might look to change things in order to compensate for a key offensive component of his team. The head coach listed several options to replace the number 10 - Justin Meram, Bernardo Anor, and Ben Speas in the Higuain role or Dominic Oduro or Daniel Paladini if they elect to change their formation.
- Berhalter said they are looking for guys that are working to be on the field. He said they have had guys knocking on the door all year.
- Asked about if notice any difference in the way they played Saturday against the Fire, Berhalter said it was due to different characteristics of the players. He pointed to Chad Barson, who started for Waylon Francis, not going forward as much. He called it similar overall.
- When I asked if he sees more confidence in Ethan Finlay with the recent success, Berhalter asked, "yeah, don't you?" He said it's clear to everyone that the third-year player has his confidence and said he's performed well in training. He's happy with the way Finlay's developed himself, calling it because of his own work.
- Berhalter said Hector Jimenez at right back was something they did for the home game but didn't rule it out happening again. He said he always thought he could play there due to his skills. Berhalter did say he was probably better in the midfield but he could play in the back.
- Asked about Michael Parkhurst, who is back from the U.S. national team earlier than expected after not making the 23-man roster, Berhalter said he was one of the better players in training on the day, specifically point to one-on-one attacking drills.
- Berhalter admitted that he learned a lesson from the three games in seven games. He said he learned about this group that guys deserved opportunities and he needed to give it to them. He said the starters cannot take their places for granted.
- The head coach said he doesn't look at streaks and such, but looks at the performances. "If I can live with the performance then I can live with the result."
- Berhalter said they released Kevan George for the Trinidad and Tobago national team for two friendlies and he won't return until after the World Cup break. Originally the Crew were not going to allow him to go, but Parkhurst's return freed him.
- Asked about Matt Wiet, Berhalter said he's getting there. They want to get him game time before they activate him in some scrimmages.
- When I asked Berhalter about the "headache" of selecting lineups with players playing well that weren't starters at the beginning of the season, he told me they weren't headaches. Berhalter said it's important to have guys that can come in a do the job.