Immediately after the Crew's May 10 match against Vancouver, Columbus' third over the span of seven days, Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter remarked that if he could have done it over again, he would have mixed up his lineup more.
Over that span, the Crew made just two deviations, both coming in the second of the three matches: Dominic Oduro received a start on the right wing for Hector Jimenez, and Agustin Viana started for the suspended Wil Trapp.
Now, presented with a similar string of matches, Berhalter says that his side is committed to "mixing it up" more than they did during the first go-around, hoping that the rotation will help the Crew earn more points.
"It’s a good opportunity to get some fresh legs on the field," said the Crew boss. "It’s testing the depth of this group and I think that’s what’s important. When you see the lineup that ended the game in Toronto, it was a lot of new faces and it was a great opportunity for these guys to get battle-tested and perform under some pressure."
Ben Speas, Agustin Viana, Daniel Paladini and Fifi Baiden all saw time in Toronto, and the performances of many of these reinforcements gave the Crew optimism about its depth, something that could prove invaluable during this stretch of matches.
"We said going into this week that we’d handle it a little bit differently. We said that there would be changes," said Berhalter. "The next lineup we play, I wouldn’t necessarily look into it as if we’re happy or not with the performance of those individuals, but we want to get fresh bodies on the field and we purposely planned the week like that."