Columbus Crew SC are only back in town for a short period of time in between preseason trips, but aren't going to waste that sitting around. After arriving back in Columbus late last week, head coach Gregg Berhalter gave the players the weekend off before resuming their work in preparation of the 2015 season.
Conversation with Berhalter
- Berhalter said the trip to Florida went great. He said they had nearly 100 percent participation throughout the first round of preseason, which is rare when doing as much fitness as the team did. He said they focused on getting fit but also helping the new players learn the system.
- Berhalter said the team feels they're in a good spot right now. He said they are right where they want to be with fitness. He said from a tactical standpoint, they still have a ways to go but the staff is pleased with the progress. They are looking forward to going to Austin and competing against other teams
- The head coach said they are ahead of where they were last year, both on the physical side (offseason program really got the guys prepared) and tactically (only teaching five guys the system instead of 30). Did say they are trying to implement some new ideas.
- Berhalter said they want to focus on conditioning and teaching in the early part of camp and that's why they haven't played any games. Did say they did a 45 minute inter-squad scrimmage before leaving Florida.
- Berhalter said they have a plan for Justin Meram, Romain Gall, and Wil Trapp, who all spent time with their national teams over the offseason. Said they want to be fresh for the end of the season so they treat each player individually.
- Asked about Trapp's time with the U.S. team, Berhalter said he think it's a good process for Wil. He said he think it's great for him to be around that level of play and to measure himself against the country's best.
- Berhalter said the draft picks are behind the rest of the team, but indicated that's to be expected. He said the staff will be patient with them, move them along and look to evaluate them down the road.
- When asked about waiving Ben Sweat, Berhalter said they didn't want to hurt his development by keeping him but not playing him. He believes Sweat has a future in the lower leagues where he can get minutes and that's what's important for him. Said the main issue was the fit of the system for Sweat.
- Berhalter said there were no plans to add trialists but that doesn't mean they're not going to. Said he's happy with the numbers.
- The head coach was asked about his rotation for this year and said they are competitive in a lot of spots. He believes it's going to be difficult to make a starting 11. He said they will go 45 minutes with different teams in Austin and as they move deeper into preseason games, they'll begin to give guys more minutes.
- Berhalter said there have been no injuries so far ("Knock on wood") and the only player that missed time in Florida was Mohammed Saeid who was sick one day.