Following the Crew's signing of Daniel Paladini on Friday afternoon, the former Chicago Fire midfielder chatted with TheCrew.com Insider Cody Sharrett to discuss his move to Columbus.
Cody Sharrett: Welcome to the Crew, Daniel. Having played here in Columbus against the Crew a few times, what do you know about the city and what excites you about playing here?
Daniel Paladini: It's definitely a bit of a change from Chicago, but I've talked to my brother-in-law Josh Gardner who played for the Crew in 2011. He says it's a great city, a great fanbase. It's an opportunity and I look forward to the challenge. I'm definitely excited for this new venture and hopefully I can help bring a championship to this team.
CS: You come from Chicago, it's one of the big rivalries in MLS between the Crew and the Fire. What is your take on the rivalry having played in it the past few years?
DP: It's really exciting. Playing on the opposite side last year, and Dom Oduro going from Chicago to Columbus and him having such a successful season last year, it's one of those bittersweet things. I'll obviously miss Chicago, the city and the fans, but this is a business. This is how our business works. It worked out for Dom in Columbus. He's happy and he has a great setup [in Columbus]. Talking with him, I've heard nothing but good things about the fans and I'm looking forward to meeting them and getting plugged-in with them. I know a lot of the guys on the team. It's a good bunch of guys, so I'm looking forward to meeting more of them and bringing some wins across the way against Chicago.
CS: 2014 will be Gregg Berhalter's first season as Sporting Director and Head Coach with the Crew. What have your conversations been like with him so far?
DP: He's very professional, very meticulous about things. I can tell he demands different qualities from different players and he expects us to come out and work every day. It's not going to be one of those situations where he plays favorites or what not. I feel like he's one of those guys where you know the best players are going to play and win the spot.
CS: How would you describe your game for Crew fans that might not be familiar with your style of play?
DP: I'm more of a box-to-box midfielder. I guess I've gained a reputation of being a little feisty on the defensive side, but offensively I have a pretty good long-range shot and I'm pretty decent on set pieces. Although, Higuaín is not bad himself [laughs].
CS: You'll come in and compete with Wil Trapp, Tony Tchani and Kevan George to start in central midfield. How are you mentally approaching preseason right now?
DP: Those guys are good players, I've seen them play. They're young. They're different. I'd say my game is probably a little more like William's [Trapp]. He's a simple player, doesn't lose the ball. He's a good player. Tony's more of box-to-box guy who gets involved. He's feisty on defense, on offense he can see that split pass. He's a good player. They're all good guys. When it comes down to it, it's a job. Whatever is best for the team, that's why we have a coach, and he's going to make decision of who's fit to start. It's a long season. There is going to be injuries, suspensions and what not. We all have to be ready when our names are called upon.