Preseason

Black & Gold buying in to Berhalter's approach

Players gaining fitness, building chemistry during week in Columbus

Gregg Berhalter

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USA Today Sports Images

If only for a week, the Crew is back in Columbus.

The Black & Gold began training for the week indoors at SuperKick in nearby Lewis Center on Monday in-between preseason trips to Columbus. With already almost two weeks of training in the books, the fitness levels are nearly there while the team chemistry continues to progress.

"We're getting to know each other," first-year Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter told the media. "I think the guys are working hard and we're trying to figure out the different personalities and how to reach each individual and how to come together collectively.

"It's still a feeling-out process."

Though challenging, players both new and returning have bought into Berhalter's approach in training and his early emphasis on team stamina.

"[Training] is pretty intense," offseason addition Steve Clark admitted. "It's very scripted, organized. That's what you want. I think that [Berhalter] has a plan and he's going to put that in place. That's what you ask out of your leaders.

"[The fitness] is challenging, it's hard. Today we're tired, but you have to understand that that's what it takes to win. I'm all about it. It's okay for me. I'll be resting all day, but life is good."

Added second-year forward Ryan Finley: "It was great coming down [to Florida] those two weeks and doing some fitness and kind of getting a base to go off for the rest of the season. I think that's important."

The Black & Gold continue to train at SuperKick through Friday before heading to Orlando for the Disney Pro Soccer Classic on Sunday. While training indoors is not ideal, Berhalter feels his team can accomplish plenty this week.

"You can focus more on the duels and individual matchups," Berhalter said of training indoors. "Obviously, you're in a lot smaller spaces. You're on turf. You can really focus on one-v-one, two-v-two, small-sided situations. 

"It fits perfectly here."