Much has been made about Crew SC's ability to dominate possession since Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter's arrival in Columbus. The triangle of central midfielders Tony Tchani and Wil Trapp behind playmaker Federico Higuaín has been vital to the club's success in cotrolling the middle of the park.
On Saturday in particular, keeping the ball will be counted on even more in matching-up with the New York Red Bulls' talented midfield of Felipe, Dax McCarty and Sacha Kljestan.
"[The Red Bulls] have been doing a good job," said Berhalter. "I like our group though. I’m confident in our group. It’s going to be a good game. Red Bull played a great game against D.C., particularly the midfield trio. We know it’s going to be tough."
Berhalter specifically mentioned the Red Bulls' pressure in midfield as being a change from the past with the additions of Felipe and Kljestan under new Head Coach Jesse Marsch.
"What I think they’ve changed a little bit is some of their pressing in the midfield. They’re doing a good job of that," he noted.
Sitting behind Trapp and Tchani in the Black & Gold's 4-2-3-1 formation, Crew SC centerback and captain Michael Parkhurst expects the midfield to be a key factor in earning a result on Saturday. If anyone knows the ability of Kljestan and McCarty, it's Parkhurst. The veteran defender played alongside the duo with the United States Under-23 National Team at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.
"We’ll match-up three-on-three in the midfield," Parkhurst said. "Sacha is a very good soccer player, and so is Dax. They combine well, they read the game well. Dax will sit more, and Sacha’s got the freedom to roam like Pipa does for us. It’ll be a battle.
"We have to control the midfield, and we expect to."
Crew SC looks for its second straight win at MAPFRE Stadium when it kicks-off against the Red Bulls at 7:30 p.m. ET (Time Warner Cable SportsChannel / CD102.5 FM) on Saturday evening.
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