The Columbus Crew players and staff were hard at work Wednesday morning as they continue their weekly work. The intense training was just completing as the media entered the Obetz training facility.
The players blew off some steam with a game of "horse shoe," when players break up into teams of two and play long balls across to their partner. The player receiving the ball has one touch to trap it and have the ball land as close to a spot (marked with a cone) as possible. Team with the ball closest at the end of each round gets a point. This is a common game at Crew practice when the players have some down time.
Other players worked on things on their own. Chad Barson and Matt Wiet were working on individual passing drills back and forth to each other. Tyson Wahl was running through some fitness activities, working with a trainer and on different ladder drills.
Ben Swanson for the Crew Academy and Robbie Kristo, a forward at St. Louis University both trained with the Black and Gold today. was there yesterday but was not identified until today.
Conversation with Gregg Berhalter
- Berhalter was asked how different he thought Saturday's game with Toronto FC would be than the first meeting with no Federico Higuain or Michael Bradley and Jermaine Defoe available. The head coach said it's hard to tell. He touched on Toronto's last game, scoring two goals playing a man down. He called them a dangerous attacking team.
- Asked about Trillium Cup, Berhalter said it has special meaning. He stated that it's fun to play these mini series throughout the season but admitted this was nothing he had heard of before MLS started the concept.
- Berhalter said Ethan Finlay's play came from him becoming comfortable with the new staff and system and he's understanding how they play. Said he's always shown flashes of the ability he's demonstrated recently. Also said the key to his game is relaxing, "it all doesn't have to happen on one play."
- In regards to what goes into making the decision on changing the lineup without Higuain, Berhalter said you just evaluate. He said you can't replace Higuain one-for-one and there aren't many guys in the league who could replace him. He said there will be little adjustments.
- Asked what he's looking for out of whoever replaces him, Berhalter said they won't ask him any more than what they're capable of and the staff will ask him to play his game. They will choose someone because they believe their game can help the team.
- Berhalter was asked, with his message of a team, if he would promote Higuain for any end of season awards he might be up for. He said he wants to support his players. He said Federico is not a selfish player and very humble for accepting any awards. He said he may lobby for his awards.
- Asked about Adam Bedell, Berhalter said he's doing well but going through what most rookies go through in terms of fatigue both mentally and physically. Said they're more than happy with what Bedell is doing.
- Berhalter said Higuain missing the game was for the best because Federico would want to play all three of the games next week. He called in unfortunate that he won't be there against an Eastern Conference team but it gives him a forced rest.