Just about a month into preseason training, Crew SC is looking to get into the groove of the MLS Regular Season as the club prepares for its fourth match of February against the Costa Rican Under-23 National Team on Saturday (WATCH HERE) at the IMG Suncoast Pro Classic in Bradenton, Fla.
Entering his second season at the helm of the Black & Gold, Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter has spent much of the preseason so far perfecting his possession-based system. Lauding his players' dedication in the offseason, Berhalter hasn't had to spend as much time on fitness or teaching his system this time around.
"Our expectations are a lot higher [in 2015]," he told media over the phone on Thursday. "We’re expecting more out of the group every day. Last year, we were pleased with little improvements. Now, we’re looking for big improvements."
Still, with several new faces in camp acquired in the offseason, Berhalter and his staff have stressed patience with new arrivals learning Crew SC's tactical approach.
"It’s just up to us [coaches] to be patient and realize there are still a lot of guys learning the system," he explained. "They’re doing a good job."
Nevertheless, Berhalter praised his players' work ethic and attention to detail as Crew SC prepares for its 2015 season-opener versus the Dynamo in Houston on March 7.
"Their work-rate is always there, which is fantastic," he said. "Their concentration is always there, which is great.
"I think we’re moving along."