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Practice Pitch Updates: Two Losses, No Wins

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Crew SC is 0-2, but the sky is not falling as the team prepares for Chicago.

It was an cloudy day in town as Mother Nature appears to still be sad over Columbus Crew SC's 2-1 defeat to the Philadelphia Union this weekend. Well hopefully she gets over it quickly because I could use some sunshine and I'm sure the Black & Gold wouldn't mind a dry field to train on.

Most of the players were done with training on Tuesday when the media members were allowed into the EAS Training Center. Those who were left, mostly the starting 11, played a game of the attackers vs. the defenders on a small field with all the coaches on hand.

Maryland defender and Gahanna Lincoln alum Alex Crognale trained with the team today and was working with these players in the final drill.

After finishing up and working with a couple players individually, head coach Gregg Berhalter spoke with the media.

Updates from Berhalter

  • "We're 0-2," Berhalter said. "It's still being objective. It's still seeing the big picture and the big picture is we played some pretty good soccer in these games, not great, and we still need to improve." The head coach said every team wants to beat Crew SC now and the players have to come to terms with it and that they earned this target on their back.
  • Berhalter said it's harder to maintain a level than rise any given year. He said they are trying to prove that they can maintain it.
  • Asked if he was concerned that chances were being created but only two goals have been scored in the first two games, Berhalter said he would be more concerned if there were fewer chances. He said they are fine-tuning movements and taking those chances.
  • Justin Meram is working to get to 90 minute fitness. Berhalter said he thought he looked good when he entered the match and that's promising for the team. Said Meram is a guy the team depends on. The winger played 90 minutes in a scrimmage with Notre Dame on Sunday.
  • With the above said, Berhalter said Hector Jimenez has earned the right to start based on his preseason performances. Berhalter said it's nice to give guys chances when they earn them, but also noted that it doesn't mean that stays that way the entire year.
  • There's a tough stretch for Crew SC coming up with the Chicago Fire, FC Dallas, and the Montreal Impact all on the road over the next three matches. Berhalter said they just focus on the next game.
  • On the Fire, Berhalter said they know it's going to be a difficult game. He mentioned the speed up top for Chicago, pointing to David Accam and Kennedy Igboananike specifically as very good players.
  • Asked about getting the first road win of the season in Chicago last July and if that could help spark something this season, Berhalter said the team's at different stages of the year right now.
  • At this stage, Berhalter said it's not necessarily about wins and losses but putting "a solid 90 minute shift [in] that we can be proud of how we played."
  • Offensively, Berhalter said the team will have to be patient. He said the Fire are a difficult team to break down. He said teams are allowing Crew SC to have possession and playing conservative even at home in the case of the Portland Timbers.
  • Asked about Harrison Afful creating chances, Berhalter said that's something they worked on and the team would like to see similar things from Waylon Francis on the opposite side. He said those chances don't create counter attacks often because the ball goes out for corners or goal kicks.
  • Berhalter said he's excited for former Crew SC homegrown goalkeeper Matt Lampson who has started the first two games of the season for the Fire. He said the team is excited to play against him.
  • Forwards Ola Kamara and Conor Casey are "getting there. Making progress," per Berhalter. Both were held out of Saturday's game due to injuries.
  • Asked if he would consider changing the starting 11 sitting at 0-2, Berhalter said they are always considering lineup changes. "I don't necessarily thing it takes a loss to change a lineup."