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Scrimmage Report: Columbus Crew SC v. Michigan State

With a full week off, the Black & Gold took on Michigan State in a scrimmage Saturday afternoon.

Columbus Crew SC took on the Michigan State University soccer team in a closed-door scrimmage on Saturday afternoon. The Black & Gold used two different lineups, with the exception the goalkeeper, one in each half.

First half lineup:
Matt Lampson
Harrison Afful - Michael Parkhurst - Emanuel Pogatetz - Waylon Francis
Ethan Finlay - Tony Tchani - Wil Trapp - Justin Meram
Federico Higuain
Jack McInerney

Second half lineup:
Matt Lampson
Chad Barson - Kevan George - Tyson Wahl - Chris Klute
Kristinn Steindorsson - Mohammed Saeid - Ben Swanson - Cedrick Mabwati
Ben Speas
Aaron Schoenfeld

Obviously it was the first team, minus Kei Kamara who worked on the secondary field on drills, in the first half and the second team in the second half.

The first half featured one goal from Crew SC when Meram sprayed the ball out wide to Finlay, who found the overlapping run of Afful for the finish.

The second half was a bit more exciting featuring three goals.

Just minutes into the second half, Klute fired a poor clearance low towards the net and beat the Spartans' keeper for a 2-0 lead. Shortly after that Schoenfeld chested a lofted George pass right into the path of Speas and the midfielder slotted the ball home. Finally Steindorsson made it 4-0 when he took a Barson header down inside the penalty area and hit a shot into the back of the net.

That would be how the match would end.

Notes

  • Wil Trapp's communication is always noticeable, but when there are no fans drowning out his voice, it is very apparent that he is the vocal leader on the field. He is demanding of his teammates and lets them know what they need to be doing all over the field.
  • Justin Meram took the one free kick Columbus got in the first half in scoring range over Federico Higuain. Meram's shot was on frame and tipped over the crossbar by the keeper.
  • Both Jack McInerney and Aaron Schoenfeld dropped in more defensively than Crew SC forwards typically do. Both made long runs back with attack defenders, which is good to see at times.
  • McInerney is still learning his new teammates. Multiple times he made a run and the ball went elsewhere. There were conversations about it each time as the team tries to get on the same page with the new striker.
  • Harrison Afful is nearly a replica of Waylon Francis on the opposite side of the field. While he does get involved in the box more, his runs down the outside and his crosses look very similar to whar Francis delivers.

Conversation with Gregg Berhalter

  • The head coach said the scrimmage was good. He said the idea was to get a rhythm of playing after the bye week. He wanted to get everyone 45 minutes.
  • Berhalter said Kamara was just held out of the game and nothing is wrong with him. Rookie center back Sergio Campbell has a mild calf strain so that's why he did not play.
  • Berhalter said he thought both McInerney and Afful looked good in their first extended minutes with the team.
  • On Harrison, Berhalter said he had a couple good crosses and good attacking movements. He thought he did well. Berhalter said the defensive approach of the full backs take a little more time, but the staff has been working with him the last couple of weeks and he's getting up to speed.
  • Asked about the amount of coaching he does during these scrimmages as opposed to games, Berhalter said the team can work on some things. He said in the second half they did some variations on their system.
  • On McInerney, Berhalter said he has very good movements inside the penalty box and that was evident today. He called it strength for McInerney.