No decision has been made yet on if Michael Parkhurst will play for the Columbus Crew on Saturday against the Fire, but this much is known: the Crew defender was traveling home Friday morning to spend time with his family, and Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter will have a conversation with him soon to see where he is at ahead of the Chicago match.
Berhalter said that he has no doubt Parkhurst wants to play, but concedes it's not as easy as that.
“I don’t want to frame it as if [Parkhurst] wants to play [or not],” said the Crew boss. “He definitely wants to play. It’s more of what type of a mindset he’s in and what type of physical condition he’s in … We have to make sure he’s right physically and mentally. I guarantee you he wants to play this game.”
With Thursday’s roster decision still resonating in the locker room, it’s understandable that Berhalter said that the whole team was disappointed for its Captain, but he is also confident that Parkhurst will turn the negative into a positive through his play on the field.
“You can take it two ways: you can use it as something that drags you down or you can use it as motivation to prove everyone wrong. Michael, I believe, is the type of guy who is going to take it as motivation. I think it’s going to boost him.”
Whether Parkhurst suits up against Chicago or not, the Crew defender should now be available for selection in a few matches where Berhalter didn’t necessarily expect him to be an option.
That’s no consolation prize for the Crew boss.
“I think we have to look at it like this: if you asked me if I'm happy that I can select him over the next four or five games, the answer is yes," said Berhalter. "But I’m not that short-sighted that I don’t recognize what it would have done for his career, and in turn, what it means for the whole team to have him there. All the guys are disappointed.
“I would have gladly sacrificed those five games for him to have that World Cup experience, any day.”