Maybe it's the carryover of the overtime aggregate defeat of the Montreal Impact in the the Eastern Conference Semifinals or maybe it's just good days of training, but Columbus Crew SC continues to be in good spirits each day when practice concludes.
Although members of the media were not fortunate to see any action on early Wednesday afternoon, it was evident that things went well today for the Black & Gold. It was a nice morning and players were rather talkative and friendly walking off the field to the locker rooms, which isn't always the case when the day did not go well.
The team had a new pet on site today as what appeared to be a gopher came running along the fence that lines the EAS Training Center. Undoubtably he was there to get a front row seat because he didn't get one at MAPFRE Stadium in time. Hopefully someone alerted him of the additional seating added for the match.
Once Gregg Berhalter had finished speaking with his players, and the gopher had made its way home, the head coach talked with those on hand.
Conversation with Berhalter
- The head coach was asked for the positives and negatives of having a week off between games. He said the positives are you get a week to work and you don't have to rush anything. He said that gives time to prepare and helps due to international duty for several players. He did not list any negatives, but did admit that the team wanted to carry the momentum forward. They are taking it day-by-day.
- Berhalter said this last week plus has been about continuing to work on team concepts and focusing on what they do in games. Crew SC has also begun to focus on the pressure the New York Red Bulls will bring.
- The Black & Gold are attempting to figure out if the Red Bulls will press and where in this first leg. Berhalter said he thinks New York will likely sit back a little bit on the road, but you can never know.
- Berhalter called the three games with RBNY in the regular season completely different games. He said it will be interesting to see how both teams react in a playoff series.
- "We're prepared for everything." Berhalter said they have game plans to face New York whether the Red Bulls press or sit back in leg one.
- Wil Trapp didn't play much against RBNY this year, but Berhalter said that won't change his team really. He said the team's game is based on principles and not individuals.
- Berhalter gave credit to Red Bulls' sporting director Ali Curtis and head coach Jesse Marsch. He said he respects their playing style and the team executes it very well.
- Crew SC can't only focus on forward Bradley Wright-Phillips. Berhalter said New York has a lot of weapons, mentioning Mike Grella, Lloyd Sam, and Sacha Kljestan. "They've got a solid team and we're not solely keying on Wright-Phillips."
- The head coach was asked about the attacks in Paris and the evacuation from the German soccer stadium with a game going on in New York in the second leg. He said the thoughts and concerns go out to the victims, but believes MLS and the authorities will do their job in security.
- Berhalter said Tony Tchani is good. "He's getting there." Also said Mohammed Saeid is doing good. He said he is optimistic for their availability Sunday after both players have been dealing with injuries.
- Berhalter said he thought midfielder Kevan George did a good job for Trinidad and Tobago against the United State on Tuesday night. Said he thought his player looked confident.