Columbus Crew SC head coach Gregg Berhalter took some time on Thursday to speak with the local media while on the third stint of the team's preseason in Bradenton, FL. Here are some of the highlights of what he had to say.
Conversation with Berhalter
- Berhalter was asked about where Hector Jimenez would find a home this year. He said, Jimenez is a guy that has a tremendous amount of versatility and that's something you need in a team. Berhalter said the staff are comfortable with him playing four different positions (right and left wing, center attacking midfield, and right back). He said Jimenez will play a big roll for the team this season.
- The Crew SC head coach said Chris Klute is a dynamic, attacking minded outside back and he's still learning the system and his responsibilities. Berhalter said he's doing well and he just has to get caught up with the rest of the guys who are familiar with the system.
- Berhalter was asked about the Collective Bargaining Agreement and if it would impact his team at all before the start of the season, but he declined to comment on anything dealing with the CBA.
- Asked about Hernan Grana, Berhalter said he has done well. He said they like how quickly he's adapted to the way the team want to play. With Boca Juniors, Grana was required to play more defensive and they are now seeing his offensive side as well.
- Berhalter said they want to be a club that looks after the players and allowing Grana to leave for the birth of his son is important and they excused him because of that.
- Berhalter said the expectations of the team are a lot higher this year than they were at this time a year ago. He said they are looking for big improvements over little improvements and sometimes they have to remember to be patient.
- Berhalter didn't want to give away any information on potential new tactics but said that the fitness of the players has allowed the team to work on their possession game and their movements.
- Berhalter explained that Romain Gall picked up a knee injury and is day-to-day and that's why he hasn't seen more time this preseason. He was someone the head coach mentioned earlier in the preseason as a player the staff wanted to really bring along this year.
- Sagi Lev-Ari is a striker according to Berhalter, despite playing out wide during the last preseason match. The head coach said that was due to other players earning time ahead of him. He said that's about learning how to adapt as a rookie and Berhalter said it was good to see him have goal scoring opportunities from the left wing.