Trialist Sercan Güvenisik's 66th minute penalty kick tally was all the Crew needed to defeat D.C. United 1-0 on Saturday in Bradenton, Fla. Güvenisik's scoring chance was set-up by Justin Meram, who was taken down inside the 18-yard box by United defender Conor Shanosky to force the penalty kick.
SHAKING OFF THE RUST
It took a few minutes after the opening whistle for the Black & Gold to get into the flow of the team's first game action of 2013, but eventually Robert Warzycha's first unit was able to string together some passes to provide prime scoring opportunities in the first half. With a few new faces in the lineup, the chemistry is still building early on in preseason.
"I thought the competition was good," winger Ben Speas said after the match. "I feel like we're heading in the right direction, for sure. It was only the first game we've played together this year, so things are still coming together."
"We're rusty, but I feel like we're getting out of it," Speas continued. "We're seeing some good things, some good movements and attacking movements between some players. I think we're heading in the right direction."
ROOKIES ANSWER THE CALL
Rookies Chad Barson and Ryan Finley appeared in Robert Warzycha's starting lineup for the Crew's first preseason match on Saturday. Warzycha was impressed with the poise each rookie showed in their professional debuts.
"Those guys did very well," Warzycha said. "Chad especially, he has a very good first touch and he was going forward. He kept the ball and was in the right spot at the right time. The same with Ryan, he was dangerous in front and he made some nice runs. I'm very happy to have them."
Fellow rookie Wil Trapp came on at halftime and played all 45 minutes of the second half. Fresh off United States U-20 National Team camp, Trapp needed little time to adjust to the pro game.
"There is always a learning curve, but it all happened pretty quick. There wasn't a lot of craziness and it wasn't too hard to adjust," Trapp said.
"I thought we did well in the second half," the Homegrown midfielder continued. "We came out with a new group of guys, who have never really played together and it was good to get the result, first and foremost. Secondly, I thought we actually strung together some good sequences of play. It was exciting to see that in the second 45 [minutes]."
ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT
Despite the positive result, Warzycha feels there is plenty to improve over the next few days of training in Florida. With fitness as the focus in early preseason, Warzycha wants to see better stamina out of his players this week.
"Obviously, we're building our fitness," Warzycha said. "I would like to see at the end of 45 minutes that we're still going for the goal and playing good soccer."
With the Crew's lone tally on Saturday coming from the penalty spot, Warzycha would like to see more goals next time around when the Crew faces the Chicago Fire on Wednesday in Bradenton.
"Obviously we'd like to see some more goals. There is a lot to improve," the head coach said.
"I think the result is also very important. A 1-0 win is going to give some of the guys some confidence."