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Friday's Practice Pitch Updates

With one day left before the Black and Gold are back on the game field, the Crew continued their preparation for Montreal Friday morning.

Douglas C. Pizac-USA TODAY Sport

As practice concluded on Friday, many of the Columbus Crew players and coaches remained on the pitch, working on things individually or in small groups.

Assistant coach Josh Wolff worked with forward Adam Bedell and outside backs Chad Barson and Ben Sweat on crossing and finishing. Ethan Finlay, Romain Gall, Josh Williams, Justin Meram, Crew Academy player Ben Swanson, Michael Pakhurst, and Hector Jimenez were in a circle juggling. A few of the other players appeared to be playing a game where they tried to hit the crossbar from distance.

On the far field the goalkeepers worked with assistant coach Pat Onstad while head coach Gregg Berhalter put defender Emanuel Pogatetz through some paces that kept him working on his fitness.

Conversation with Berhalter

  • Berhalter said everyone wants to say their home stadium is a fortress but you have to earn that right. He said the team came out thinking they weren't going to lose at home, but lost their game of the season. He pointed out that opposing teams are sayings Columbus is a difficult team to play at their place.
  • Berhalter said the crowd underestimates the impact they can have on the game. He said when they have a good crowd behind them, they will be tough to beat. Points to Portland and Seattle as two other examples of this case. Berhalter credited the front office for getting fans in the seats.
  • Asked if the sellouts are a credit to the entertaining play on the field, Berhalter said he hopes so. He said the feedback is that people really enjoy watching the team play. He said they want the style to become identifiable and have fans know they are going to see it when they come to the stadium.
  • Asked about the likely absence of Ignacio Piatti for the Montreal Impact, Berhalter said he's a top talent in the league so it will make a difference but pointed to other players on Montreal who also have talent. He said they are cautious about the Impact's attack.
  • Berhalter said Dilly Duka is a player who needs the coach behind him and needs confidence. Called him a good player, but you have to know how to reach him.
  • The head coach wouldn't say the Impact are more dangerous because they are out of the playoff hunt. He said if they weren't, we would be talking about them battling to get in the playoffs. He said all the games are tough games in this stretch.
  • Berhalter said Pogatetz had a really positive week and he's made a lot of progress this week. Said there's a 50/50 chance he makes the 18-man roster tomorrow.
  • Asked about Eric Gehrig's back spams, Berhalter said it's been tough. He said the defender has missed a couple days of training and it's touch and go.