Though the results are preseason results, Head Coach Caleb Porter noted the challenge the San Jose Earthquakes presented as a physical, man-to-man marking team, and at a stage where it's about building layers and continuity, Porter was pleased with the continuing progress showcased.
"As a starting point today, it’s great to develop a winning habit," Porter first noted after Monday's 4-1 win over San Jose.
Logistically, the friendly featured two 60-minute "matches", each with a different Starting XI -- a gradual increase in minutes from the Club's first two friendlies.
With the workload progressing, Porter thought his team passed the latest test as the focus continues to incorporate a combination of attacking and pressing principles and more.
"We are two weeks into preseason and four weeks till our opening game, so we knew it was an important test for us as we continue building layers on our team, continue progressing physically, mentally, tactically, and as a team.
"I thought today we did a lot of good things, in particular playing against a San Jose team that is very difficult to play against. We knew it was going to be a really difficult challenge in the way that they match you man-to-man all over the field and I thought our guys passed the test and dealt with it in a really good way."
Prior to the first preseason match, the focus was on attacking principles while high-pressing tactics were at the forefront versus Vancouver last week.
On Monday, the goal was to see the two mesh and, overall, Porter was pleased on both sides of the ball.
"The first game we focused on the attack, the second game we focused on the pressing. This game we wanted to put the two together and as best we could try to create the vision and identity of how we want to play over 60 minutes and two different groups," he said.
Porter mentioned the link-up play among the midfield, particular with Lucas Zelarayan and Pedro Santos, and their ability to pull opponents around to open up space for strikers like Gyasi Zardes and Fanendo Adi.
"In looking at the match, I think there are a lot of things to still improve on but we are in a good spot right now on both sides of the ball," Porter said.
"The possession and our chance creation was excellent. Our pressing was good as well and that’s the type of team we want to be – a team that controls the ball with the ball and without the ball decides it, and I thought we did that, for the most part, today against a really difficult team to play against in the way that they play."
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Importantly, Porter noted the special chemistry building as a whole, and how that affects the team's playing style.
"I think our unity and collective mentality and our spirit overall in the locker room is going to be a strength of ours this year. Everyone supports each other, everyone trusts each other – it’s a true team. And to play the way we want to play, we need 11 guys attacking and 11 guys defending, otherwise it won’t work, so it was great to see that come to life today."
Up next, the Crew faces Sporting Kansas City in Tucson, Ariz. on Feb. 12 prior to the start of the 2020 Visit Tucson Sun Cup on Feb. 15. | FULL PRESEASON SCHEDULE