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Will Gregg Berhalter finish 2018 with Crew SC? He answers... sort of

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Black & Gold fans think their head coach is headed to the national team. But when will he leave?

MLS: Columbus Crew at Montreal Impact Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports

Columbus Crew SC head coach Gregg Berhalter doesn’t want to talk much about the vacant U.S. Men’s National Team head coaching position. In fact, he doesn’t like to discuss any head coaching jobs except his own.

The issue is, Berhalter is the frontrunner to be hired by U.S Men’s National Team general manager Earnie Stewart. And while Crew SC fans are happy to hear that Berhalter is focused on what’s going on with his team in Columbus, they would also like to know if they are in fact going to lose their manager to the national team.

And it’s not just the USMNT that is interested in Berhalter. According to reports, the LA Galaxy, who parted ways with another former Crew SC head coach in Sigi Schmid in early September and have not named a full-time successor, are also interested in Berhalter’s services.

From everything we at Massive Report are hearing, it’s closer to a matter of when than if Berhalter will be named the Americans’ next head coach. But when is still an unknown. On Tuesdays, Berhalter was asked about remaining with the Black & Gold through the end of the regular season — which has two more week — and gave a bit of a taken-aback response.

“Staying through the end of the season? Of course I’m staying through the end of the season,” Berhalter exclaimed. “You thought I would just take off? ‘Sorry guys!’

“I’m here. I consider myself leading this team. I think we’re all in this together and our job is to keep playing as long as we can.”

While it absolutely makes sense that Berhalter would want to complete the 2018 chapter of Crew SC’s story with his players and staff, the national team would also like to get a head coach named. According to FOX and Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl, Stewart would like have someone in place by early November. The issue with that is Columbus hopes to still be playing well into November and possibly early December as part of the MLS Cup playoffs.

Would Berhalter stick around through a playoff run? His answer to that question would have to be inferred a bit more.

“Is there another camera here? What’s happening here,” he asked with a laugh. “This is the best question you guys are coming up with? You had all weekend. I wasn’t here all weekend. Seriously, we haven’t spoken in three days and this is what you’re coming up with. I’ll let you answer, Andrew. I think you’ve known me long enough that you can probably answer that for me. And Patrick also.”

Berhalter is right, both Columbus Dispatch writer Andrew Erickson and I have covered him long enough to guess that he would want to finish what he started with this team before moving on to another job. But the question had to be asked.

If you’re asking for my thoughts, and my thoughts on this topic were sanctioned by Berhalter, I believe he remains the Crew SC coach until the Black & Gold’s 2018 run ends. That does not mean that he won’t be named USMNT head coach before then, assuming Wahl’s early November timeline is correct, but should still finish out the year with Crew SC before moving on to greener pastures.