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Practice Pitch Updates: Finlay, Fire Defense, New Players

Preparations continue for Crew SC as the team searches for its first win this Saturday.

It was fairly short and sweet at the EAS Training Center on Wednesday. Columbus Crew SC were finishing up tournament day with two small-sided games as the media members arrived.

Evidently there was a tie in points between two of the teams, as there was a penalty kick shootout to conclude the day's session. It caused a lot of friendly yelling back and forth before a winning team was decided.

After some individual work and speaking with a coach, head coach Gregg Berhalter spoke to the media members in attendance.

Conversation with Berhalter

  • Asked about the first two weeks, the first thing Berhalter pointed to was that Crew SC has created a lot of chances. He did admit the team isn't satisfied with the goals they've conceded. "I think the results haven't been there but the play's been okay."
  • Berhalter reiterated that he's proud to see Matt Lampson starting for the Chicago Fire. He said they know his tendencies (good on crosses, good shot stopper).
  • On Ethan Finlay, Berhalter said it's guys finding their individual form and he said he's going to get back into the form he can produce. The team has to find Finlay in the right spots and his runs have to be good for the winger to have success.
  • Asked if the addition of Harrison Afful and his runs down the right wing has caused Finlay to change his game, Berhalter said he doesn't think so.
  • While the Fire line up in a 3-5-2 last weekend, Berhalter said he sees it as a five-man back line. He said this will create a lot of congestion and there are certain areas Columbus has to find.
  • Crew SC has only used one offseason addition so far in MLS play with Conor Casey coming off the bench against the Portland Timbers. I asked Berhalter how the new players are adjusting. He said it's a combination of getting guys fit and getting players back from injury (Ola Kamara and Casey have both dealt with this).
  • Berhalter said the college scrimmages (played Notre Dame last Sunday, play Wright State this weekend) are all about minutes for the second group of players.
  • Berhalter said the team has to come to terms with the opponent really coming to play against them. With the success of last year, the head coach reemphasized the "target on our back" mentality that he mentioned on Tuesday. Berhalter said the loss to the Philadelphia Union on Saturday was a good lesson to his team that they have to be sharp each game.