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Thursday's Practice Pitch Updates: Aztex, Right Back, and the Young Berhalter

The last training before Crew SC take on the Fire.

The Columbus Crew SC players had just finished training as the media members entered the EAS Training Center on Thursday morning. The players seemed rather relaxed on the field, as you might expect the day before a match, kicking the ball around or sitting out in the sun.

After a chat with forward Kei Kamara, head coach Gregg Berhalter came over to talk to those on hand.

Conversation with Berhalter

  • Berhalter said despite it being short, Crew SC had a good week of training. He said the staff is pretty set on who replaces the suspended Mohammed Saeid in lineup on Friday. He said you should expect a couple other changes as well.
  • Berhalter was asked about Kaylen Ryden and Adam Bedell not playing with affiliate club Austin Aztex last night and said it was in case the Black and Gold needed either player. Berhalter said both players are doing well down there. Ryden has scored a goal for the Aztex and Bedell has had a chance or two.
  • Berhalter said Hector Jimenez has been fine in replacing the departed Hernan Grana. He cited a couple of good passes to Federico Higuain in the San Jose game and a strong performance against the Seattle Sounders. He reiterated that in that position, who is on the field may depend on the matchup. He said Jimenez is very good at passing and moving off the ball. Said a lot of what Grana did well was on the ball, where as Jimenez does most of his work off the ball.
  • Berhalter called Jimenez's defensive abilities a work in progress, but said they are working with all the defenders on their one on one defending.
  • The head coach said he sees it as a great opportunity for his son, Sebastian, who was just called up to the U.S. Boys' National Team Futures training camp. Said it's good for them to compete against other top kids around the country. He said you have to stay focused and committed because it's a long way from U-14 to the senior national team.
  • Berhalter said his son is incorrectly listed as a forward when he's actually more of a midfielder. He was asked how it would go one v. one if they were the same age (Gregg as the defender and Sebastian as the attacker) and he said he thinks the youth programs are better now than they were when he was a kid. He did say that the younger Berhalter can't beat the older.
  • Berhalter was asked about Eric Gehrig returning to Columbus this weekend and said it was hard to get rid of all the guys they did last year. He said it's good to see Gehrig, Josh Williams, Bernardo Anor, and Jairo Arrieta making an impact at other clubs.