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Thursday's Practice Pitch Updates with Berhalter Audio

The Crew continued their preparation for Saturday's match in Thursday's training session.

Douglas C. Pizac-USA TODAY Sport

The Columbus Crew continued their preparation for Saturday's rivalry match with the Chicago Fire at training on Thursday.

As the media entered the compound, the players just finished their session and were in the process of stretching on the sideline.

Conversation with Gregg Berhalter

  • Berhalter was asked about rumors of other teams acquiring U.S. players - the Chicago Fire bringing in Jermaine Jones and the LA Galaxy moving up in the allocation order - and what was the benefit of being atop of the allocation order. He said they have first crack at any of those players. He also said everything comes through them and they have leverage because Columbus would have to give up the spot. Berhalter did say if there's a player of a certain financial Designated Player statue (Bradley/Dempsey) they don't have to go through the allocation process.
  • Berhalter said they could get anyone (talking about the returning U.S. players) "as long as ownership says ‘let's do it.'" He said with the way they play soccer, anyone would want to come play with the Crew, making the allocation spot very valuable. He said they are representing a club where players want to come, want to play their type of soccer, and want to be treated the way they treat players. He called that positive and said they would be in contention for anyone coming back.
  • Berhalter wouldn't give names, but said he received a call yesterday for a player who wanted specifically to come to Columbus. He called the player a, "big national team player" and said all of a sudden players are approaching the team.
  • Asked about teams inquiring about their allocation spot, Berhalter said no one has but they aren't talking about big movement, just slight adjustment. Said they aren't ready to give the spot up.
  • When asked when they might be in position to use their top allocation spot, Berhalter said it was hard to say. He also said the timeframe is until August 6.
  • Asked if Sacha Kljestan - a player rumored to be coming back to MLS - is someone in which they have interest, Berhalter said he wouldn't comment on players that weren't on his team.
  • Berhalter was asked about his comments after the New England Revolution game that he's asked Federico Higuain to do things that don't show up on the stat sheet. He said he meant him getting the ball in deep positions. It takes him further away from goal, but he's instrumental in the Black and Gold's game and he's doing whatever he can to help the team.
  • Berhalter said they need the offense to come from the front four - the striker, Higuain, and the two wingers.
  • Berhatler pointed to the dangerous set pieces they had against New England. Said there were four corners that were extremely dangerous, two cleared off the line.
  • Asked about Ethan Finlay's consistency, Berhalter said he's dangerous every game. They are asking him for more and he's giving the team more. He talked about his pace and his ability to keep it up throughout the game.
  • Asked about the veteran reserves, Berhalter said they've all been great. He said it helps when you have older guys that are willing to work hard in training even if they aren't starting.
  • Berhalter said Jairo Arrieta is doing better and might be in consideration for Saturday's game. He said it would be hard to imagine him going 90 minutes.

Berhalter 07-31