The Gregg Berhalter era in Columbus is officially underway, as the Black & Gold topped Swedish Allsvenskan champions Malmö FF 1-0 on Wednesday afternoon at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.
As expected in the Crew's first match of the 2014 preseason, most of the 90 minutes were focused toward getting players reacquainted with the speed of the game and the tactics Berhalter has begun to teach in training.
"The message to our team was 'let's go out there and play, and use it as an exercise to demonstrate what we've been working on in training, and also for fitness,'" Berhalter said after the win."I think we accomplished both of those goals."
Fielding entirely different squads of 11 players in each half, forward Jairo Arrieta scored the winner in the 50th minute, cleaning-up a loose ball in front of net following a Justin Meram corner kick.
Pleased by performances on both sides of the ball, Berhalter credited an entire team effort for the victory.
"Offensively, we're working on stuff," he said. "We were really close on a lot of plays. It looked decent. Our defenders hung in there. It was a team effort.
"The goalkeepers, the defenders, the midfield: they all did a good job of preventing a goal."
The Crew will continue to train in Bradenton before returning to Central Ohio on Friday. The Black & Gold are set to depart for Orlando, Fla. On February 16, where they will face Toronto FC, the Philadelphia Union and Orlando City SC in the Disney Pro Soccer Classic.