Columbus Crew SC couldn't have asked for a much nicer day for training than they had on Wednesday. Although the media members standing on the sideline may have been a bit chilly, it was a perfect day for soccer in Columbus.
As the training session at the EAS Training Center opened, the team worked on crossing and finishing. Players had to do some quick dribbling through cones, cross the ball, finish a cross and then a trailing player would clean up a ball from the end line, essentially a rebound. The players rotated through the different stations, so everyone played each role.
After the session conclude, head coach Gregg Berhalter spoke with the assembled media.
Conversation with Berhalter
- Berhalter was asked what he makes of this team 10 games into the season and responded that the expectations are higher than they were a year ago and they would like to have four to six more points. He said he thought the team is strong at home and pointed to stats that backed up how the team has done this year offensively.
- He said he believes the team could improve defensively and he wants to get results more consistently. He said they want to string together some results. He said they've played some tough games on the road and he's not really surprised by the results.
- Asked about Kevan George, Berhalter said he's done well this week in training, where he's always really solid. They need to get those performances in training and translate that into match play.
- Berhalter said George's first position is holding midfielder and center back is secondary. George was sent to the Dayton Dutch Lions to work on becoming a center back last year, but plans changed partway through the season. Berhalter cited George's ability to win the ball and that he's good on the ball as characteristics that make him a good holding midfielder.
- The short week does not present Crew SC with any additional challenges.
- Berhalter said the staff and team is very familiar with the Chicago Fire, this week's opponent. He said they've watched nearly all of their games, as they've been on TV frequently.
- Asked about Crew SC being on "national TV' in this game, Berhalter said it's exciting. He said it's nice to play in front of a national audience and they don't have many opportunities this year. Said the players are aware.
- Berhalter hesitated when asked if he was disappointed Crew SC didn't get more games on national television. "You'd like to believe that it had something to do with the quality of soccer that you play, but I'm not sure it necessarily does."
- Berhalter said Ethan Finlay and Michael Parkhurst were limited in training, but they are fine.
- The rivalry with the Fire gets the players going more than a regular game Berhalter said. He pointed to the close proximity, same conference, and a traditional rival as reasons. "We'll be ready to play."