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Tuesday's Practice Pitch Updates: Ethan Finlay, Desperate Portland, Change in Form

It was an intense day of training for Crew SC as they look to continue winning ways at home this weekend.

Tuesday at the EAS Training Center in Obetz means Tournament Day for Columbus Crew SC. That's exactly what it was this week, as the Black & Gold competed against each other once again.

Small-sided games are the norm during Tournament Day and today it was 6 v. 6 on smalls fields. The group was broken up into three teams. Here's how they were divided:

Blue: Justin Meram, Emanuel Pogatetz, Mohammed Saeid, Ethan Finlay, Aaron Schoenfeld, Tony Tchani
Orange: Tyson Wahl, Kevan George, Federico Higuain, Harrison Afful, Cedrick Mabwati, Waylon Francis
Gray: Hector Jimenez, Michael Parkhurst (replaced by Ben Swanson in the last game), Wil Trapp, Kristinn Steindorsson, Kei Kamara, Ben Speas

Gray ended up the winner on the day, but things got a bit chippy. After one of the games, several players were yelling back and forth and at one point and later one team was not happy about a no-call on what they thought was offside.

After a chat with his coaching staff, head coach Gregg Berhalter addressed the media members that were present.

Conversation with Berhalter

  • The head coach was asked about Ethan Finlay reaching 20 goals and 20 assists for his career. He said it means a lot to have a player develop so quickly, as this has happened over the last two years. Berhalter said Finlay takes pride in the way the team plays and it's good to see him have personal success.
  • Finlay has been much better this year according to Berhalter. Called him much more consistent. Berhalter also complimented Finlay's playmaking ability this year.
  • Berhalter was asked about the win over D.C. United and said the game was long gone. "I haven't thought about it since Sunday." Said the focus is on this weekend's game with the Portland Timbers.
  • Asked about recent success against teams near the top of the Eastern Conference, Berhalter said all the games were tough and decided by small margins, could have gone either way in those contests.
  • The Timbers are desperate for points in order to stay alive in the playoff race heading to Columbus. Berhalter compared it to the game with the Philadelphia Union two weeks ago. He said the Black & Gold are also desperate as they are trying to climb up the standings.
  • Asked what is different about the team during the recent run of good form, Berhalter said some of those losses could have gone the other way earlier in the season. He also mentioned playing down a man in multiple road games, which hasn't been an issue recently.
  • The head coach said that the nature of the game is when you get results you're more confident and when you're more confident, you play better. He said this has built momentum with the team since the Chicago Fire road win.
  • Berhalter was asked if that Fire game was a turning point and said that game was important to get a victory on the road. He added that the first half of that game was probably the team's best half all year.
  • Sergio Campbell was back from his loan spell with the Austin Aztex. Berhalter said the Aztex coaching staff said Campbell did well. Berhalter admitted they should have sent the defender sooner to get him more games.
  • Romain Gall is not back yet. Berhalter said it just takes him longer to get packed and such due to a longer time spent in Austin. He will be back soon according to Berhalter.