As the media entered Columbus Crew training on Tuesday morning, the Black and Gold competed in "Tournament Day." Head coach Gregg Berhalter informed those gathered that they play a tournament every so often. The coaches keep track of the players who win and lose and give them points throughout the year. They mix up the teams and play different formats.
Today's tournament was a 5 vs. 5 round robin on two small fields between four teams ending in a final game between the teams with the best record. There was high competition in the air, as all four teams looked to win and advance to the championship game. Players left it all on the field and became frustrated when they did not win or made costly mistakes.
Conversation with Berhalter
- Berhalter started off by discussing "something good": the LA Galaxy and Seattle Sounders game from the night before. He thought it was a fun game.
- Berhalter was asked about previously playing the Chicago Fire. He stated the Fire made good adjustments between the first meeting (2-0 to the Crew) and the Open Cup match (4-2 Chicago in overtime). He said they have to keep the ball and wait for the space to open and look to make moves when the space is there.
- Berhalter said they certainly take something from the Open Cup game despite the lineup changes. He pointed to their movement and success on crosses specifically. He talked about the success with Mike Magee withdrawing from his forward position.
- The head coach was asked about the Crew's struggles in Chicago and he said, "I know nothing about that." He said there are matchups that get the best of you over the years and the other way around, but he knows nothing about that here as the new head coach. They're going to Chicago to win a soccer game.
- Berhalter would not tell the media who was winning the Tournament Day competition. He said it's nice to get the players competing because that's what they do as a profession. He believes the players enjoy Tournament Day.
- Asked about Justin Meram's assist to Ethan Finlay on Saturday, Berhalter said they identified that space at halftime and they wanted to take advantage of that.
- Berhalter said Meram can get frustrated if he doesn't play at times, but he's been great coming off the bench. Not everyone can make an impact in a short period of time like Meram. He said if he's producing, Meram will be on the field.
- Berhalter said the young depth on the team are getting playing time despite not being projected to start. He said it shows the guys are willing to work and compete. He said it's a positive that the young players have performed in these situations.
- Despite leaving in running shoes, Berhalter said they just gave Waylon Francis the day off in training today.
- Told a rumor that Ronaldinho might be coming to Columbus, Berhalter said he couldn't see that happening. He did say, "imagine Ronaldinho in Columbus..." and that it would be fun to see him and Federico Higuain together.