Fitness will be the focus in Saturday's friendly against United

Crew to open preseason play against D.C. United

Robert Warzycha

Photo Credit: 
Cody Sharrett/TheCrew.com

The Crew will kick-off its first of at least seven preseason matches on Saturday morning against D.C. United in Bradenton Fla. The friendly will provide Head Coach Robert Warzycha a first look at new players and trialists in game action, while the players will look to gain match fitness.

"I'm looking to get 45 minutes out of each player," Warzycha revealed Friday morning. "That way we can introduce them to the game. I'm not looking for a real test. I'm just looking for them to get their feet wet."

"We get our feet wet with [Saturday's match]," midfielder Ethan Finlay echoed. "We'll probably go over some set pieces this afternoon and talk things over positionally. We're just going to have fun with it. We'll try some things this time during the preseason."

Besides rookie Wil Trapp, who is coming off playing all 90 minutes in two matches during United States U-20 National Team camp, Saturday will be the first game action many players on the Crew roster have seen since October. While players already under contract with the Crew for 2013 will battle for a starting spot, the trialists in camp will hope to make a good first impression on Warzycha in Saturday's match.

"Fitness-wise everyone is in different stages," Warzycha said. "Some guys know they will be on the team this year and the guys that are here on trials will have to do well."

While Warzycha doesn't have a set lineup just yet ahead of the 2013 regular season, he and his players will get a good feel of what works and what doesn't on Saturday.

"I'm sure Coach will try some guys out in different positions and really get to see how guys flow together as an 11," Finlay said. "I'm excited. I think we've got some good new guys in and we've got a good group coming back."

"It's preseason and everyone is trying to show the coach what they can do," added forward Justin Meram. "We're looking to get some gameplay at this level and figure out who the best team is to put out there to start the season."

The Crew and D.C. United kick-off at 11:00 a.m. Saturday morning at IMG Academy in Bradenton.