For the final period of Columbus Crew training open to the media, the Black and Gold were split into several different groups.
On a small field - with the goals set about 30 yards apart, a group played a game of four v. four. The two teams were made up of Federico Higuain, Ben Sweat, Agustin Viana, and Alvaro Rey on one side and Kevan George, Tyson Wahl, Daniel Paladini, and Adam Bedell on the opposite with goalkeepers rotating in the net. This drill featured a lot of quick passing a shots, as players looked to score in the short games.
Midfielders Wil Trapp and Tony Tchani did some independent work on long balls, while defenders Eric Gehrig and Chad Barson did short passing and juggling in between cones.
The players looking to return from injuries were also putting in some work at training. Ethan Finlay worked on the far field on conditioning, doing sprint drills with an assistant coach. Josh Williams and Fifi Baiden spent the end of training jogging around the two fields.
In the four v. four game, Paladini and Higuain each scored a notable goal. As the teams began a new game, Paladini took the ball on the unofficial kickoff and ripped a shot top corner from 25 yards out. Later, Higuain found space from 15 yards out and chipped the goalkeeper into the side netting.
Conversation with Gregg Berhalter
- The head coach called Friday night's opponent, the Colorado Rapids, a good team. He said he likes the group they have and called them unpredictable in their play. He believes they have a good defense and offense and one of the factors will be if the Crew can keep the ball.
- Asked about today's roster deadline, Berhalter said they plan to keep this group intact. He said they have some roster flexibility, but they like this group.
- Berhalter said Higuain and Trapp both responded well from their first extensive action. He said Pipa looked great in training and Trapp is getting his fitness back.
- Asked about other injuries, Berhalter said they're doing well. He said Finlay is on his way back and they're doing good.
- Berhalter informed the media that he wore his new authentic home U.S.A. jersey to work today. He said his size medium ran a little tight.
- Asked about finding Giancarlo Gonzalez, Berhalter said he had already scouted him before and they got a call saying he was available. He called the situation fortunate that a player like that was available.
- Berhalter said they still have had no offers for Gonzalez at this point, but he said it's a market where there's certainly movement after the World Cup. He said they would listen to offers but they were in no hurry to move him.
- The head coach said both Gehrig and Wahl have done a good job in Gonzalez and Parkhurst's - while he was gone - absence. He pointed out that Gehrig was a player not in the 18 man roster at the beginning of the year - like Finlay.
- Berhalter called Finlay getting hurt when he was red hot frustrating. He said he is a player they believe can return to that form.
- Berhalter called the events on Saturday a "horrendous accident that happened." He said the players were shaken to have one of their fans go down. He said they talk about it and kept the players updated.