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Tuesday Practice Pitch Updates: Confident, Tony Tchnai, Didier Drogba

It was the first day of training after the first leg of the Eastern Conference Semifinal last weekend.

After Sunday's 2-1 loss to the Montreal Impact in the first leg of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, Columbus Crew SC returned to training at the club's EAS Training Center on Tuesday.

Several of the starters from Sunday's contest sat out the final portion of training when the Black & Gold played a few small-sided games.

Despite the loss, everyone appeared to be in good spirits with an away goal and the second led approaching on Sunday evening.

After training concluded, a rather talkative head coach Gregg Berhalter spoke with the gathered members of the media.

Conversation with Berhalter

  • The head coach said the mentality of the team was good to start the week. He said the staff asked the players to come in refreshed and ready to go and he saw that on Tuesday.
  • Berhalter said the team talked about a number of different scenarios that would help Crew SC advance this weekend heading into last week's game. He said the way things played out were one of the scenarios.
  • Federico Higuain's opening goal gave Montreal a bit of momentum. Berhalter said the team played well over the opening 30 or so minutes and the goal by Crew SC woke the Impact up a bit.
  • It's difficult to not look at soccer as a 90 minute game, but Berhalter reemphasized that this series is essentially a 180 minute game and being down 2-1 isn't bad halfway through. He said if you add up the form of IMFC recently, playing in front of their home fans, and the fact that Columbus didn't play its best game, Berhalter and the team don't think it's a bad result.
  • Berhalter said there's a difference between chances and possibilities and his team had a lot of possibilities, but they were off and so those didn't become chances.
  • After the game, Berhalter said he wanted to see more from his outside backs. On Tuesday he said they need to continue to push up the field and get in deeper positions and that needs to happen more frequently.
  • Berhalter confirmed reports that midfielder Tony Tchani has been called up by the Cameroonian national team. The head coach wasn't sure when he would leave nor was he sure on his status for Sunday. Tchani left the game with a strain in his upper leg and didn't train today.
  • Berhalter said he's excited for the atmosphere at MAPFRE Stadium on Sunday. He said these type of games are what make seasons exciting. "Sunday at MAPFRE Stadium is going to be great."
  • Asked about the form of Ethan Finlay, Berhatler said he thinks it's pretty good. He admitted he didn't have his best game on Sunday, but said a lot of guys didn't play their best game. Pointed out that he was nominated for MLS Player of the Month in October.
  • Berhalter said again that Didier Drogba will get chances and the goal is to limit those chances. It will be about doing it again on Sunday for Crew SC.
  • "It's an exciting time of year, it's an elimination time of year, and it makes for good games. Sunday's going to be a great game." Berhalter believes his team is in a good position and doesn't believe a 0-0 scoreline is going to happen at home.
  • In terms of striker Kei Kamara, Berhalter said it's a team effort to get him involved. He said they need to the full backs getting forward more, more balls into the box, better accuracy on crosses, and good movement by the forward. He said he will be dangerous on Sunday if all of those things happen.