Thursday, February 6, 2014

Crew Preseason Match 1, Malmo

Head Coach Gregg Berhalter got to see his first two weeks of training put to competitive action yesterday against Swedish Allsvenskan side Malmo FF.

Florida is a regular destination for Malmo during their winter preseason break as the Crew have faced them before. Cool fact about Malmo is that since the finished first last year they will be playing in 2014/15 UEFA Champions league.


Berhalter played a different eleven in each half with no subs in either. He seemed to balance the two sides out but going back over the match it appears the 2nd half side was the stronger one.

Not a whole lot as far as performance to comment on other than there are a few players that appear to be getting a chance to showcase in front of the coaches.

The first half saw the familiar to Crew fans 4-2-3-1 with somewhat predictable results when both Baiden and Trapp aren't venturing forward. Ryan Finley didn't have a whole lot to work with, especially with Higuain playing at preseason pace.

The newcomers were clustered on the left hand side in defense. Fifi Baiden played a holding role, Ben Sweat at left back and Patrick Slogic at Center Back.

Malmo was able to find space on that side in the early going but Sweat and Slogic held their own in defense. Sweat looked slightly more comfortable atop energetic legs. Baiden saw a good bit of the ball but there wasn't anything much to note from him past half field (not much from Trapp there either).

For the parts of the 2nd half the Crew played more of a 4-3-3 because of the high pressure that Meram, Oduro and Arrieta applied. It also looked that way in attack. The goal that came of it might have been a bit sloppy from a corner - but it this lineup deserved one.

The 2nd half group didn't have a experience gap outside of Ross Friedman getting to play as Right Back. If they had, Malmo would have scored because they seemed to be playing with a good deal of determination and intensity (even over that of the New England match a few days before).

Steve Clark played well... of note.


Exciting to see some of what Berhalter has been working on. He is playing a premium on figuring out his roster but selfishly I would have liked to see a full strength lineup after the team spent a half month of nothing but training.

As we have it, combining the 1st and 2nd half lineups sort of gives you your projected season opening lineup if you pull out that left deep side in the 1st 45 with the 2nd half group.

With Oduro playing on the right side we might see Jimenez as a 60th minute sub type and Arrieta over Finley.

There were a handful of outfield guys that were healthy scratches in Tony Tchani, Shawn Sloan, Ethan Finlay, Aaron Schoenfeld and Matt Walker. The feeling is here with these players is that the coaching staff knows what they have in them (good or bad).

Crew travel back to Columbus for the weekend before heading back down to Orlando to train and participate in the Disney Classic.

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