Preseason

2014 Preseason, Bradenton: Day 4

Pipa arrives; Black & Gold battle wind and rain

Federico Higuaín

Photo Credit: 
Tim Miller

IT WASN’T AS COLD AS COLUMBUS, BUT… 
 
… It wasn’t the warm, sunny and 75-degree temperatures on Wednesday that the Crew practiced in just one morning before.

What started as overcast skies and a pleasant breeze quickly turned to dark skies as the wind picked up and unleashed a steady rain for the better part of a half hour. 
 
Certainly the weather provided another unexpected-but-early preseason mental test for the guys and one that the team could quickly find benefits from. 
 
“Those are probably the conditions we’ll be seeing early in the season in March and the beginning of April,” said forward Aaron Schoenfeld on today’s weather.

The 23-year-old forward was able to reflect and joke about the unfavorable conditions after warming-up back at the team hotel. 
 
“I think it’s the first training session I’ve had in the afternoon driving there with the air conditioning on and have the heat on during the ride home.”

Added midfielder Wil Trapp: “I think it’s good for us to experience all different types of weather. It’s nice to have a little parity in the weather in the training sessions,” said Trapp, who noted that it was certainly not the negative degrees that most Columbus residents have been experiencing of late.

MESHING WELL AS A UNIT 
 
Part of implementing a vision is clear and concise communication. From the messages in the huddles before drills through coaching throughout the sessions and beyond, it has been an effort that has been well-received for the young Trapp. 
 
“I think the first four days that we have been here have been great. Each drill, each part of training has a purpose,” said Trapp. “I think each member of the staff has a definition of the style of play and how they want us to approach the game tactically. 
 
“I think they do a good job relaying that information to us through the drills we do in training and I think everyone is starting to understand and see the vision take shape.”

CONTINUING TO GROW AND OPPORTUNITIES TO DO SO 
 
Four sessions down, players continue to echo that their offseason efforts have helped them prepare to be ready to put their best foot forward when starting a preseason under a completely new coaching staff. 
 
“Being a target forward, you want to be strong,” said Schoenfeld. “I worked a lot [in the offseason] on my strength and conditioning parts of my game. You have to be able to take your chance when you get it so I spent a lot of time finishing as well.” 
 
For Trapp, who earned his first professional start on July 7, 2013 against Portland and became a mainstay in the lineup thereafter, this preseason is a chance to continue to prove himself. 
 
“I think coming off of a long offseason it’s very important to just get back into getting sharp on the ball and sharp on our movements,” said Trapp. 
 
“I think it’s a huge opportunity and it’s a clean slate so to speak to try to start over and hopefully we take [Berhalter’s] vision and run with it.”

A FAMILIAR FACE AND A NEW ONE  
 
Federico Higuain participated in his first training session of 2014 on Wednesday. As previously reported, Higuain traveled down to Florida after being unable to depart Columbus with the full team on Sunday due to an illness. Although it was just one session back, having the Argentine – and new owner of a number 10 jersey – back was an added benefit immediately. 
 
“He’s our playmaker,” said Schoenfeld. “The majority of our game runs through Federico and his job is to make everyone else better on the field.  
 
“His presence can be felt on the field.” 
 
Joining the Crew in preseason camp – arriving on Wednesday evening – is Cornell University graduate Patrick Slogick [Pronounced: SLOW-jik”]. The 6-foot-6 defender is set to train on Thursday and is now one of five un-signed players on the Crew roster alongside Ben Sweat, Kingsley “Fifi” Baiden, Adam Bedell and Konrad Warzycha. 
 
Be sure to check out the Crew’s updated preseason roster throughout the camp.