The Columbus Crew have a unique week ahead of them, with a game Wednesday and Saturday, but only one that counts towards the standings.
The Crew were back in training on Tuesday after their win over the Montreal Impact on Saturday, preparing for their friendly against Crystal Palace F.C. and the match with the New England Revolution on Saturday.
The players worked in a big field 8 v. 8 game to conclude training with all of the Dayton Dutch Lions players back from their loan. Those players will be available for Wednesday's friendly to help provide head coach Gregg Berhalter with options against the Eagles.
Conversation with Berhalter
- Asked what he gets out of an international friendly, Berhalter said he is able to give players game time. He mentioned Dayton loanees Matt Walker and Ross Friedmen, but other players that haven't seen the field much as well.
- Berhalter said they will rest four or five guys but otherwise will field a strong lineup against Crystal Palace.
- Berhalter said rookie defender Matt Wiet is doing great (has been with Dayton) and will have no restrictions on Wednesday. Wiet was returning from knee surgery and trained with the Black and Gold before going to the Dutch Lions to get game action.
- When asked about the timing of the game, Berhalter said everyone around the league is doing these friendlies. He said it gives the fans a chance to see an English Premier League team and how his team stacks up. They're using the game as a very hard training session. He called it "a great opportunity for our group."
- Berhalter was asked about a favorite moment during his time with Crystal Palace. He said there were a lot of fun games but goes back to avoiding relegation on the last game of the season, scoring in the 88th minute. H said he still has a bunch of jerseys from his time there.
- Asked about Michael Parkhurst being named to the MLS All-Star team, Berhalter said it means a lot. He said to see a guy that was just brought into the team this year, along with two other guys who were on the cusp - Federico Higuain and Giancarlo Gonzalez - means they are getting there.
- Berhalter was asked about the "Natives Are Restless Banner" in the Nordecke on Saturday and he said he didn't see it. He asked what it meant and said things will take time. He pointed out, when you look at the history of MLS (mentioning Real Salt Lake when Jason Kreis took over the and Bruce Arena when he was appointed coach of the LA Galaxy) calling it a process you have to stick to.
- Asked about interest in DaMarcus Beasley, Berhalter said they would look at it but wasn't sure how closely.
- Berhalter said they let Alex Martinez, who was on loan, go. He explained Martinez is looking for playing time and that's something they couldn't offer right away.
- Berhalter said nothing much has changed in regards to Gonzalez's transferring from Columbus. He admitted that it's a tough balance between keeping a player that is doing well for the club but accepting the right offer if it comes.
- Berhalter said it is possible there could be a signing this week. He also said they could make multiple signings but they have to be the right pieces to the puzzle. The head coach did admit they want new blood to reinvigorate the group. Called it "a priority" to bring a couple of people in.
- Berhalter said these friendlies are fun games. He talked about playing against A.C. Milan, Barcelona, and Real Madrid and said those were great games. He was quick to say that this won't be like that, but Crystal Palace are still a good team and had a good season last year.
- Berhalter said it will be great to see the Dayton players here and called it a perfect opportunity to get them back and get them game time.