Wednesday was a perfect day for soccer and Columbus Crew SC got after it on the training ground. By the time the media entered the Obetz facility, it was evident the players had been through a tough session.
The team worked on shots from different angles as well as delivering and finishing crosses. The coaches kept on the players about taking advantage of their chances. Then some of the players (mostly reserves) played a 5 v. 5 game with one all-time offensive players, Kristinn Steindorsson.
After the practice concluded, head coach Gregg Berhalter spoke with the media.
Conversation with Berhalter
- After saying yesterday that he spoke with Federico Higuain about his red card, Berhalter said the conversation was short. Higuain said he knew he let the team down and Berhalter explained they want to channel that aggression into a positive.
- Berhalter said he thought his team was very close to scoring goals on Saturday and that could have changed the complexion of the game. He also said they had individual mistakes on the goals the team conceded. "We're moving on from that game."
- An early goal could have potentially alleviated some of the pressure, Berhalter said. Or the New York Red Bulls may have continued to pressure and the team could have broken them again. Berhalter said he's watched film on teams that play similar to Crew SC and has found vulnerability in teams that press. They have to exploit it.
- The head coach was asked about the time off before the next game. He said he thinks players like to get back at it, especially after a loss. He said it does help a coach to plan and work on things though.
- A lack of rhythm may have come into play a little bit, according to Berhalter, due to the fractured scheduled to start the season, but it's negligible. He said they didn't win the game because of what they did and gave some credit to New York.
- The Black and Gold have a short turn around between their next two games, playing at 10 p.m. local time on Wednesday and 3 p.m. on Saturday. Berhalter said they'll have to wait and see what they do in terms of the lineups (will still likely only take an 18-man travel squad).
- Kei Kamara was limited in practice today but will be fine going forward. Wil Trapp is also doing well and is expected back in full training by the week's end.
- Berhalter said they will evaluate in training who will replace Higuain during his suspension. He said the tactics could change a bit depending on who is in there (Steindorsson, Ben Speas, Hector Jimenez, and Mohammed Saeid are all options).
- Asked about Higuain's production so far this year (no goals, no assists, one red card), Berhalter said the playmaker could have a goal or two on the season. He pointed to him hitting the post against the Houston Dynamo and chances against Toronto FC and the Red Bulls. Berhalter said he is close to making the impact that the the staff wants and it's coming.
- Saeid is taking some of the set pieces because of he's left footed. Berhalter believes that gives them a different option than the right-footed Higuain taking all of them.