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Thoughts From Columbus Crew SC's Scrimmage with Louisville

A chilly Sunday scrimmage against college kids. Here are my thoughts from my seat on the sideline.

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

After falling 2-1 to the New York Red Bulls Saturday night, Columbus Crew SC scrimmaged the University of Louisville Sunday morning. It was mostly a reserve lineup for the Black and Gold and that was evident at points in another 2-1 defeat.

As expected the night after a match, the lineup had a strong reserve feel to it. Head coach Gregg Berhalter began with:
Matt Lampson
Hector Jimenez - Sergio Campbell - Tyson Wahl - Chad Barson
Ben Speas - Ben Swanson - Kevan George - Romain Gall
Adam Bedell
Aaron Schoenfeld

Lampson was replaced by Ben Stuver at halftime and two Crew SC Academy players replaced Gall and Speas in the second half.

Louisville scored first after a hand ball in the box by Campbell. A few minutes later, Columbus was awarded a penalty kick after Gall was tripped in the 18-yard box. Jimenez took the kick and leveled the match at one.

The Black and Gold had their chances to take the lead in the second half, but late in the match Louisville hit Crew SC on the counter and beat Stuver for the win.

Here are some quick thoughts on the scrimmage:

  • Lampson, who is very vocal from the back, kept shouting about taking the shape. It appears this is a major focus with this group.
  • Swanson demonstrated his offensive ability. Although he may not be ready to play at the MLS level, the 17-year old looks very comfortable in attack against college players. He still is working on his ability on the defensive side of the ball, as he forgot to track back or was out of position several times.
  • George looks very comfortable in the "Wil Trapp" role. He does a good job dropping onto the back line and then getting back in the middle of the pitch. His size allows him to fill in well with the center backs.
  • Bedell actually looked comfortable in Federico Higuain's position. While I'm not advocating for the 6-foot-7 striker to occupy the role during Pipa's suspension, he was comfortable moving around the field and distributing the ball.
  • Jimenez serves a dangerous ball when he is on the right flank. I'm beginning to think, in this system, his best spot is at outside back because it allows him to stay wide and cross the ball.
  • Campbell is more than just a big presence along the back line. He looks good in the tackle and moves around the defense well. The hand ball was unfortunate, as the ball took an awkward bounce.
  • Gall is still developing and learning. Some of his older teammates were consistently talking to the 20-year old about where he should be and his movements. The skills is there, but the rest of his game is still a work in progress.
  • Crew SC need more depth up top. Kamara is obviously the first choice striker, but neither Bedell or Schoenfeld could score against Louisville's defense, despite several chances. Shoenfeld did have a shot cleared off the line, but you would expect a fourth-year MLS forward to impress more against college kids