An e-mail was sent out to the media on Wednesday morning that Columbus Crew SC would not be doing their usual practice schedule, but rather partaking in a "team-building activity."
As players started to trickle back in, those media members who showed, spoke with forward Kei Kamara before head coach Gregg Berhalter was made available to those who wanted to speak with the boss.
Conversation with Kamara
- Kamara said last Saturday's performance against the Philadelphia Union was "just us being us at home." He said they knew what the Union would do, so they had an idea of how to go at it and executed.
- Asked about Ethan Finlay, Kamara said he spoke with the winger a few weeks ago and told him to just wait for his time and his goals will come. Kamara said he felt like a genius because he told Finlay after the first goal, when it rains, it pours.
- It's important to have a system Kamara said. They believe if they follow the system, Crew SC will dominate the league. They have to keep doing it though because it is early in the season.
- Kamara said they're doing "okay" with multiple players scoring goals.
- Of D.C. United, Kamara pointed to the team's big win over the Vancouver Whitecaps on the road last week. He said they will have momentum and Columbus has to continue to build off what they've done the last two games at home.
- Asked about the struggles with D.C.'s goalkeeper, Kamara joked that he hopes they play a rookie in goal. He then said it doesn't matter who's in goal. The Black and Gold just need to execute the game plan, then they shouldn't have any problem.
- Asked what the team did for "team building," Kamara first joked that they went hunting. After a quick laugh, he said they went go kart racing, but reassured that they didn't go too fast so no one could get hurt. He said this helps take the players mind off soccer and relax a bit, something different.
- Kamara said he didn't want to go to the finals so the best driver was likely head coach Gregg Berhalter. Kamara said everything is a competition with this team. He listed Finlay, assistant coach Josh Wolff, and reserve goalkeeper Brad Stuver as other good drivers.
Conversation with Berhalter
- The head coach said the team doesn't differentiate home or away in how they approach the game. Berhalter did admit that the fans have a great impact on the team with the tremendous atmosphere the team feeds off of, but they expect to score goals away from home as well.
- Asked about the rivalry between these Crew SC and D.C. United early in MLS' history, Berhalter said any Eastern Conference team brings more to a game. They understand the tradition of United and that they've been good recently. "It's certainly a rival of ours."
- Berhalter said D.C. understands what it takes to be successful thanks to the number of veterans on the team that have been around the league and have won.
- Berhalter listed being good on set pieces, being solid defensively, and having enough offensive talent to make plays, as characteristics of a good team and of United.
- Of former Crew SC striker Jairo Arrieta, Berhalter said his players will be familiar with him, but he will also be familiar with the Black and Gold. "It's always nice playing against your old team, getting that opportunity."
- Berhalter said it would be hard to give an update on Emanuel Pogetetz or Wil Trapp because the team didn't really train. Said they were both there today.
- Asked about an upcoming tough decision between Trapp, Tony Tchani, and Mohammed Saeid, Berhalter said he's taking things one game at a time and he's not even that far ahead. The focus in on D.C. Saturday night.