Logan Agin, ColumbusCrewSC.com
Columbus Crew SC is coming off of its second straight three-in-eight stretch, having played six games since April 20 with an average of three days between matches. And considering the following day is typically a regeneration session, it is not far-fetched to say the team’s allotted time for preparation is limited.
Now, the Black & Gold have seven days between their last match against LAFC and Saturday’s upcoming match against Minnesota United FC, and with that, time to focus on the details at training. Head coach Caleb Porter believes that this upcoming week will allow players to be at full strength for Saturday’s match.
“As we get more and more full strength,” he said, “I think we will be even a notch better. As we continue to add pieces and build our depth, that will help in these windows.”
Another aspect that comes with time at training is the opportunity to correct mistakes that were evident in previous matches. Midfielder Robinho believes that this full week of training will be a fresh reprieve to move on from past matches and work towards what is coming next.
“You have to focus in training,” he said, “and you have to continue to do well. You watch the video of the game to try to correct the things you did wrong. And if you are able to correct them, hopefully, you are able to get the result you want next time.”
The time spent in training is not only vital for the success of the team physically, but it also is important for their success mentally. At training, players are able to build confidence both as a group and individually.
“When you are working on these things during the week, then come game-time, it is going to be a little easier,” Robinho continued. “Mentally, you are more relaxed. You know what to do. Whether it is providing an assist or scoring a goal, you do it. Because you have done it during practice.”
The MLS season is long. Players spend a large amount of time during the season at training and preparing for the next match. These times at training work as an opportunity for the players and coaching staff to build relationships with another. With these relationships built, the team is able to learn to deal with different situations together on matchday. “I think we are together,” said defender Gaston Sauro, “and we have the confidence to get the result we want.”