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Friday Practice Pitch Updates: Second Place, Decision Day, Playoffs

As the week comes to a close, Crew SC continue preparation for Sunday's regular season finale.

The players were all but finished with their practice as media members entered the EAS Training Center. Some players remained on the field, working on shots on goal from the top of the box, while other sat around the outside.

The mood seemed light for a team a that has a huge game on Sunday evening against D.C. United that will determine where the Black & Gold finish in the playoff standings. A spot secured, second place is on the line and that's were Crew SC what Crew SC want to achieve.

After finishing up, head coach Gregg Berhalter spoke to those in attendance.

Conversation with Berhalter

  • The head coach has been on television and radio recently talking about this week's game. Berhalter said when the fans are at the game, the stadium is intimidating. Sometimes, when the crowd shows up, the team knows they will win the game from the beginning just because of the atmosphere.
  • Berhalter emphasized that the next game is always the most important game and this week is a good example. If the team didn't win last week, they're not in position for Sunday's game to mean as much. He said you learn from what's behind you and focus on what's in front of you.
  • The staff has evaluated guys in training and seeing how players respond to things. He said the team is about 85 percent to where they want them to be for Sunday.
  • Berhalter likes MLS' idea of "Decision Day." He pointed to the European schedule where this happens and there's good storylines from the final day of the season. He talked about his experiences in Germany and watching how things unfold.
  • The coaching staff won't pay attention to the other games on Sunday. "When we win, we're second. There's nothing else to talk about."
  • Berhalter said his team is in the middle of a process to establish themselves as a perennial playoff team and said that would be a good achievement for the club. He said the team, which was left out of the postseason just two years ago before he arrived, isn't happy with just making the playoffs. Credited the work the guys have done.
  • The next step for Crew SC is producing in the playoffs according to Berhalter. The Black & Gold went out in the first round last year.
  • Crew SC has been focused on one of the top two seeds in the East for a while. Berhalter said he likes the way it's playing out and it's going to be a really tough game against D.C.
  • Berhalter said they learned a lot from their first two games against United this year. Set pieces are dangerous. He expects a physical game and D.C. has talented players.