Emil Larsen is still a bit of a mystery for Columbus Crew SC fans. The offseason signing by the Black & Gold has played just three minutes in the first three games of the Major League Soccer season, making his debut against the Chicago Fire last Saturday.
Following that match, a 0-0 tie in which Larsen entered in the 87th minute, head coach Gregg Berhalter indicated that the midfielder had dealt with an injury, although Larsen indicated to Massive Report that there he has not been hurt.
Regardless, Larsen was happy to get on the field for the first time for his new club.
"It was good," he said. "It was not much I played, but it was good to feel the game and to see how they play in MLS. So that was good."
Making a move to a new club can be difficult for any player, but moving to a new country for the first time makes the adjustment even harder. This was the case for Larsen after agreeing to terms with Crew SC. The Dane began his career with Lyngby Boldklub before a move to Odense Boldklub in 2012 - both in Denmark.
Not only did he have to adjust to a new city and new culture, but also to new league and playing style.
"I played in Denmark and in Denmark it's a little more tactic," he compared to MLS. "I think most of the clubs in America, they play more counterattacks, they play more going forward, direct. Not so much tactics and that's fine for me. It's a good pace and a good speed in the game."
Having been in Columbus for a couple months now, Larsen is beginning to settle in. He's found a place to live and learning about the city he calls home.
Now for Larsen, it's about finding his place within the team.
"Right now I feel it's gotten better and better every day," he said.
During the preseason, Berhalter said he believed Larsen would push for minutes and make an impact for Crew SC. He seemed to believe he could play any of the three attacking midfield spots, but Larsen indicated he has a preferred position.
"That is on the left wing," he told Massive Report. "I want to play a role where I can move where I want. That is where I'm best. I can go inside, I can stay outside, get the ball deep and go to the defense."
In his limited minutes against the Fire, Larsen subbed in for Ethan Finlay on the right wing and in the most recent scrimmage against Notre Dame, the midfielder played in the No. 10 role where Federico Higuain typically lines up.
While Larsen does have his preference, he knows his versatility helps make him a more useful player in Berhalter's eyes.
"I can play different roles so that's fine," he said. "If he wants me to try these roles and wants to see me in these roles, that's fine with me. We have discussed and I told him I feel more confident on the left wing. Also in the No. 10, not so much on the right side."
As Larsen has adjusted to life in MLS and with Crew SC, his teammates are adjusting as well. Berhalter recently said the team must learn how to play with a target on its back and that has caused some issues leading to a 0-2-1 start.
"The guys are not happy," Larsen admitted. "They want to play better, to win the games. You can see in the first three games, we didn't play so well. I didn't see all the games last season, but I know they want to play better and I know the team can perform better than we've played."
Crew SC has not had the start to the season the team would have liked, but it is still early. As Larsen indicated, the players aren't happy with their performances so far and Berhalter is likely to take note.
Will that lead to a change in personnel and an increased role for Larsen going forward? He certainly hopes so.
"I try hard and hopefully I can play some more after the break," he said. "That's my goal."