Black & Gold midfielder, Ethan Finlay, talks with TheCrew.com after his two-goal performance against the Philadelphia Union to help the Crew to a 4-0 win in the Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic.
FAMILIAR FACES RETURN
Monday afternoon's training session saw the return of two familiar faces to Black & Gold preseason camp, as 2012 co-leading scorers Jairo Arrieta and Eddie Gaven joined their teammates in Orlando. Arrieta - who has been away on national team duty with Costa Rica since the opening of Crew training camp - was happy to re-join his club side.
"It was very good to train with my teammates for the first time today - it's great to be back and I'm happy to be here in Orlando with the team," said Arrieta on Monday evening.
Head Coach Robert Warzycha wasted little time inserting Arrieta into the fray, as the Costa Rican forward immediately jumped into small-sided games and open competition. He will be available for Wednesday's Disney Pro Soccer Classic clash with Philadelphia (1:00 p.m. ET / TheCrew.com/preseason).
Gaven returned to training camp following the birth of his second child, and he's happy to report that both wife and baby are doing well.
"Everybody is doing well, and everyone is healthy which is the most important thing," said Gaven. "I'm excited to be back with the team now and working towards our first game against Chivas on March 2."
Gaven and his wife have named their newborn son Michael Joseph Gaven.
THE GANG'S (ALMOST) ALL HERE
With the addition of Arrieta and Gaven, Warzycha nearly has his full squad in camp. Only Wil Trap (U.S. U-20 National Team duty) and Federico Higuain (MLS Media Tour) are not currently in Orlando, while Homegrown player Aaron Horton is now on trial at Sweden's Hammarby following his time in Sarajevo. Higuain returns to Crew camp Tuesday evening and will be eligible to play in Wednesday's match.
"It's the first time we've had almost everybody together. Pipa [Higuain] will be back shortly, and everyone is healthy and pushing each other in competition," said Warzycha after Monday's training session.
He continues, "I think Gaven and Arrieta looked good today, they looked like themselves and they're happy to be here. We're going to try to get better on Wednesday against Philadelphia. It's another exhibition and fitness is going to be a component. We looked good against Toronto, and we're going to try to do the same on Wednesday."
Sunday was a regeneration day for the starters from Saturday's 1-0 win over Toronto FC in the Disney Pro Soccer Classic. The tweet below is from Head Athletic Trainer Dave Lagow, showing the players' makeshift recovery setup in Orlando following their weight room session. On Monday the guys will get back into full action.
— Dave Lagow (@DaveLagow) February 10, 2013
Newly acquired defender Gláuber speaks to TheCrew.com after scoring the match-winning goal against Toronto FC at the Disney Pro Classic on Saturday. The match in Orlando was Gláuber's debut for the Black & Gold.
ON THE ROAD AGAIN
After two days of training in Columbus the Black & Gold are back on the road, this time in Orlando as the club prepares for the Walt Disney World Pro Classic. Though this is the Crew’s second trip to Florida during its 2013 preseason camp, already the tone in Orlando is decidedly more focused with the start of the regular season only 22 days away.
“We still probably have another week or two to find the best combination for us on the field. After that we’re going to begin shaping the best team for March 2 [at Chivas USA],” said Crew Head Coach Robert Warzycha following the team’s morning training session.
“The season is very close now, and we’re starting to get a better picture of who will be on the field.” The club held two practice sessions on Thursday, with Friday’s schedule lighter in advance of Saturday’s opening match in the Walt Disney World Pro Classic. The Crew plays Toronto FC at 1:00 p.m. ET at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.
NEW FACES IN CAMP
All of the newest members of the Black & Gold were in attendance at Thursday’s training sessions, including forward Dominic Oduro. The Ghanaian speedster was happy to join his new teammates and make his Crew debut.
“It’s great to be out here. The guys have been fantastic with making me feel welcome and at home,” said Oduro.
Warzycha was pleased with the tempo of Thursday’s sessions, and likes what he sees from his new crop of players.
Said the Crew boss, “We’re slowly getting a good picture of who we are and how we’re going to play. Today was the first day on the grass for Glauber, [Agustin] Viana and Dominic Oduro – it’s important, because the guys are getting to know each other while working hard.”
Warzycha continues, “You can see the team is more mature, we’re doing things the right way. The new players are already making the right passes, the right runs. For the coaches it’s good to see.”