ORLANDO, Florida.-- It’s working. He didn’t say it, but after his Columbus Crew defeated Toronto Fc 3-1, but Sporting Director and head Coach Gregg Berhalter must be thinking it. Nobody is celebrating, but there has to be a pleasant thought in their heads that is telling the Black & Gold it is going in the right direction.
It takes time and the right personnel to execute a project correctly. Berhalter has both. This is the moment to try, try and try to see what works better, who responds well and who doesn’t. Against Toronto we could see improvements from the last game against Malmo FF:
- Pressure on top. This is the European approach. All the offensive players in the squad
were fighting for possession so close to the box that Toronto never felt comfortable, and
that’s what it’s all about—recovering the ball as far as possible from your
goalie. As the games go by The Crew will
- Volume in attack. This is probably the area where the team struggled the most last season. The offensive plays are still orchestrated by Federico Higuain; however, he isn’t playing solo any more (except when he masterfully executes free kicks) and there are 3 or 4 players reaching the box.
- Circulation. Yes it’s true they had an early lead, but maintaining a lead is something that requires patience and positioning. That’s something Will Trapp (who wore the captain’s arm band during the first half) possesses 24/7 and he is spreading it to all his teammates. They controlled the ball for such a long period of time that the rival had to have been frustrated not being able to get it back.
There are still two trialists on the team: Patrick Slogic and Adam Beddel. Out of the two, Bedell looks like the one with more options to stay (he scored the third goal of the game). And there are two forwards that haven’t see a minute on the field yet: Ethan Finley and Aaron Schoenfeld.
Michael Parkurst was the captain of the second half but as Berhalter told Adam Jardy of the Columbus Dispatch about Will Trapp wearing the arm band “It won’t be the last time.” Not a surprise at all—the holding midfielder is a natural leader and a very mature person for his age (he just turned 21 on January 15th).
In last year’s edition of the Disney Pro Soccer Classic, The Crew reached the final (they lost against Montreal Impact) and created all the title contenders hype. If they manage to maintain a low profile things will go different, for the good. They will have to keep working hard though, as November is still far away.