With MLS All-Star festivities [AT&T MLS All-Star Game / Wednesday, 9:30 p.m. ET / ESPN2] in full swing this week, the Columbus Crew sent a sizable contingent to Portland for various events.
Head Coach and Sporting Director Gregg Berhalter flew out west along with Chipotle MLS Homegrown Game participants Wil Trapp and Matt Lampson and All-Star defender Michael Parkhurst.
Berhalter said that he’s been in technical committee meetings and that there were, “other meetings that you schedule throughout the trip,” but admitted that not as much business can get done thanks to the approaching close of the summer transfer window.
“Teams are still working on the transfer window, so that might take away from some of the free time you have to meet externally,” he said. “But I think it’s a good time to bring everyone together to talk about the future of the League and some of the direction the league is going in. It’s a good meeting place for that.”
With an executive, two Homegrowns and an All-Star representative, the Crew has a wider representation than in past All-Star weeks, and while Berhalter downplayed the importance of having the group in Portland, he’s happy for the opportunity.
“A lot of clubs have a contingent here, but it’s nice to see everyone together and it’s great to have guys here representing the Crew,” he said.
While he joked that for injury concerns he wished he had fewer players in the Homegrown Game when the inclusion of Trapp and Lampson was announced, Berhalter knows that it’s a good trip for them as well.
“You never want to hold your players back from taking part in something like [the Homegrown Game],” he said. “And if the League thinks it’s a good event, then it is. It’s good to have the young kids playing together and seeing each other and talking about their experiences in the League, so I’m for it.”
And for Parkhurst, who has already had to deal with being cut from the USMNT roster before the World Cup this season, Berhalter knows it’s a good opportunity to get some much-needed exposure for the first Crew All-Star since 2010.
“It’s nice for [Parkhurst] to be around that group, but he’s been around the national team and similar players,” Berhalter said. “For him, it’s an achievement. Everyone wants to be recognized for playing well. So for him it’s great.”