Columbus Crew SC aren't using the bye week to take any rest. After two consecutive 2-1 defeats, head coach Gregg Berhalter wants his team working this week in preparation for the next game and a potential postseason run.
On Tuesday, Crew SC were out at the EAS Training Center working on crossing and finishing. It was not the typical Tournament Day atmosphere, but the Black & Gold were still competing.
The team was divided into two smaller teams with players crossing from one side of the field into two runners, typically players that are in the middle of the field in games. The games were played until one team scored eight goals and then they moved on to a different scenario.
There was still some fire between the two teams, as one side complained the other team was playing by different rules (they were) allowing the ball to bounce and counting finishes after that as goals.
Once training completed, Berhalter, fresh off two missed penalty kicks, spoke with the media members on hand.
Conversation with Berhalter
- After looking back at the film, Berhalter called the game with New York Red Bulls a good test for Crew SC. He pointed out that before this game, against the teams in playoff position, the Red Bulls have scored 12 goals and conceded one while defeating some good teams. He admitted they are disappointed with their mistakes, but said it's a better test than playing a team that's given up on the season.
- Berhalter said they learned some things from the game. He didn't want to reveal how they will adjust due to the potential of playing New York again in the postseason.
- The high pressure by the Red Bulls was an issue for Columbus. Berhalter said that pressure got NYRB back in the game and they maintained it from effect of the goals. He said it shook the players' confidence. "We didn't do good enough for what I know we can do."
- Berhalter said center back Gastón Sauro did well defensively, but was out of sync offensively in his first major minutes with the club.
- Berhalter called the extra week great. Said they will focus on identifying shortcomings of their game and address those more than usual.
- The team will train every day this week, but Berhalter said it will be less physically intensive than normal. May be more mentally challenging.
- Berhalter called the loss a measuring stick for when the speed is much higher and the pressure is high, how does the team react?
- The head coach pointed out that if the loss to New York was a playoff game, losing 2-1 on the road isn't a bad result. The team did a good job of not going down 3-1 or 4-1 while looking for an equalizer.
- Goalkeeper Steve Clark said after the game that he needed to be better. Berhalter gave him credit for admitting that to the media, but also said it wasn't only his fault. He admitted the keeper made some mistakes, but other guys could have played better defensively. "We win as a team, we lose as a team."
- Forward Jack McInerney is still receiving treatment for his injured hamstring. Berhalter said it was sore after the game and they're being cautious this week to make sure it's okay.
- While it would have been nice to have clinched a playoff spot last weekend, the focus for Crew SC remains on second place. Berhalter said it will take two strong performances against Toronto FC and D.C. United and he believes that if they well in those two final games, the team has a good shot at achieving that goal.
- The bye week could be looked at one of two ways. Sometimes after a loss, you want to get right back onto the game field, but Berhalter believes this week can be used as a positive to learn.
- Berhalter wants to see five days of focused training this week. It's about effort and intensity he said.