Training Notes: Ample Opportunity
Inside from the single-digit temperature, the Crew resumed its preseason training schedule Tuesday at SuperKick Sports Complex in Lewis Center. For only being the second official day of camp, the Black & Gold brought a mid-season intensity to their fitness drills and short-sided scrimmage.
"I think the intensity was there because it was very cold. Everybody wants to be moving to keep warm," Head Coach Robert Warzycha joked.
"But seriously, it's preseason and everybody knows and understands that we have to be fit to be able to get results and the players have to be fit to be on the field. Everybody is working hard. The attitude is good, the concentration is good and everybody is working very hard. It's very positive."
Warzycha's squad has just a few days to get match-ready, as it faces D.C. United at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday for its first preseason friendly.
"Everyone has been flying around the field and we've been focusing a lot on fitness the past couple of days," second-year midfielder Ethan Finlay said. "We've got a game on Saturday and I think we're all getting pretty ramped up for that."
PLENTY OF OPPORTUNITIES
Between trips to Bradenton and Orlando this preseason, the Crew will play at least seven matches to prepare for its first regular season contest against Chivas USA on March 2.
"I think when you have seven-plus games in the preseason, you can really work the kinks out," Finlay said. "Last year, we weren't able to do that. We never really had a set group of guys to start the season. Hopefully we can do that before the season starts and use the exhibitions to form our team so we're ready for the first game."
For young players fighting for more playing time in 2013, like striker Aaron Schoenfeld, preseason friendlies provide ample opportunity to impress the coaching staff.
"It's early and a lot of people want to make a claim for the position they want. Everybody is battling and it's nice to have that atmosphere so early," Schoenfeld said. "I just want to make my claim and show what I can do. I think I can bring something different being big."
"There will be opportunities in Florida, whether it's in Bradenton where we play three games or in Orlando where we will play at least four games," Warzycha explained. "For players like Aaron [Schoenfeld] and other forwards, scoring the goals and being fast and aggressive needs to be in the description of our forwards. They need to finish their chances."
The Black & Gold made a splash in the international market Tuesday morning by signing Brazilian defender Gláuber. The 6-foot-3, 29-year-old centerback comes to Columbus after stints with Rapid Bucharest, Manchester City, 1. FC Nürnberg and Brazilian side Palmeiras over the past decade.
"I think you can see from where [Gláuber] has been playing throughout his career, he's a very experienced player," Warzycha said. "That's basically what we were looking for, but also he's a player that can really give us some competition and stability in the back."
Although unfamiliar with Gláuber's career, Crew goalkeeper Andy Gruenebaum is looking forward to another physical presence in the Black& Gold backline nonetheless.
"If he's got this proven trackrecord and he's a good player, then he's welcome," the netminder said. "Obviously we need all the competition we can get from within and that really breeds the team into a winning team."
Despite his known pedigree, Warzycha isn't ready to name Gláuber a starter just yet.
"Last year, we had Chad [Marshall], [Carlos] Mendes and Julius James all penciled in to play in the back, but all those guys got injured and nobody started too many games," the Head Coach said hesitantly.
"I'm very careful of saying who is going to play with Chad or Gláuber is going to play with Chad. We'll see what the preseason will bring and I'll say more when I see [Gláuber] fitting in with the team."
Gláuber will join the Crew in Florida for training camp pending receipt of his International Transfer Certificate and P-1 Visa.