Columbus Crew SC head coach Gregg Berhalter gave his team the day off on Thursday in a week where the team does not play until Sunday night. On Friday morning, the players and coaches were back to work in preparation.
The team session of training had finished when members of media were allowed into the EAS Training Center. On either ends of the field, players worked with coaches in small groups, practicing movement drills and finishing.
After it was concluded, Berhalter spoke with the media.
Conversation with Berhalter
- The head coach was asked about the success of his players on international duty (Justin Meram scored for Iraq, Harrison Afful captained Ghana, Wil Trapp and Ben Swanson each played for their respective youth national teams). Berhalter said it was great and this is why these guys do this. He didn't get to see Meram's game and is yet to get feedback on Swanson's performance.
- Berhalter said it's good to have Meram scoring in multiple games - also scored the winner for Crew SC over New York City FC last weekend. He said you just get a belief that you're going to score.
- The team is happy with Federico Higuain. Berhalter said it's not about the stats for Higuain and when he starts to put up numbers, it's extra for the team.
- Berhalter said Pipa's mindset is different this year, as he's been completely tuned in all year. He used the example of the Black & Gold going down in a game and how that's fired Higuain up. He wants to bring the team up with him.
- Ethan Finlay is a great example of what Berhalter has discussed this week with players taking advantage of opportunities. He also pointed to Meram, Aaron Schoenfeld last year, and Tyson Wahl. He said it's about continuing to develop no matter what.
- Berhalter had discussed working closer with the players that aren't away. He said it allows them time to watch video with these players, work with them one on one, and it creates more time for everything. He said it's been great working with these players.
- The head coach said they're getting pretty close to having a starting lineup. He said there could be a couple tweaks in the next day of training, but they're pretty much there.
- At about this time last year Berhalter and his staff set a point total for his team. The head coach said they don't have the same thing, but something a little bit different. "Similar vein."
- Berhlater said they're doing well in terms of health. Kristinn Steindorsson has a slight hamstring issue and they will see how he comes out. Higuain had the hamstring injury from last weekend, but he should be recovered from that.