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Practice Pitch Updates: Time for a New Look

Short and sweet today at Crew SC training.

It wasn’t a long practice for Columbus Crew SC as the side attempted to keep some fresh legs for Saturday’s game with D.C. United. Head coach Gregg Berhalter ran his team through drills before a small-field game and shooting practice concluded the session.

The biggest take of the day was Federico Higuain participating in the small-sided games. He showed mobility and speed (or what speed he has), which were both good to see coming off the sports hernia surgery.

The most noticeable change of the day was on Cedrick Mabwati’s head and face. The midfielder dyed his hair gold, including facial hair, since Thursday’s training. Berhalter said he looks like French star Djibril Cissé, while Ethan Finlay said he’s never seen anyone dye his hair and look that much older.

Following the conclusion, Berhalter spoke to the media members in attendance quickly.

Conversation with Berhalter

  • Asked about Higuain, Berhalter said the playmaker is right on schedule. He said they want to get him up to full volume so he can return to the game. He said he’s not the point they want with the extra work they’ve given him.
  • On D.C., Berhalter said they are physical and good on set pieces. Asked about their ability to score late goals, he said when they get behind in games they start pressing and being aggressive.
  • Berhalter made a point that every team in the Eastern Conference, including leading New York City FC, has issues. "Top to bottom, everyone has their issues." He said that it makes for a tough conference and said it’s possibly more physical than the West with tighter games. He didn’t want to say one conference was better.
  • The head coach said that he thought there is an element of the East teams beating up on each other.
  • Berhalter said D.C. is doing a good job of hanging around and putting themselves in a position to make the playoffs. Pointed out that "the best goalkeeper in the league," Bill Hamid, was out for a while.
  • "That red line’s the target. I don’t care who’s there."
  • When asked about Chris Rolfe being out for this match, Berhalter said it does but other guys are out too. He also pointed to new addition Lloyd Sam, Lamar Neagle and Fabian Espindola among other that could hurt Crew SC.
  • Asked if the next two weeks will have any impact in transfers, Berhalter said no and the staff has a pretty good idea of what they want to bring in. Admitted the who is a bit more challenging. He pointed out that teams are rarely out of contention in MLS until October.