Even though the Columbus Crew cruised to 6-0 and 4-0 wins against the US Under-17 squad on Saturday in Bradenton, Fla., Crew midfielder Eddie Gaven told MLSsoccer.com that the scrimmages still served a distinct purpose.
“You can definitely get something out of it,” Gaven said in a phone interview. “We’re trying to work on our own shape and how we’re trying to play as a team. That’s pretty much the main focus during these games and I think we were able to do that today.”
And as Gaven knows from being on both sides of the coin, it was simply a case of men against boys.
“I was in their shoes about 10 years ago, so I know how it goes,” the 25-year-old midfielder said of his own experiences with the U-17s.
Gaven, coming off ankle injury that kept him out of the first preseason match Wednesday against Malmö FF of Sweden, scored twice and Justin Meram, Emilio Rentería and newcomers Milovan Mirosevic (penalty kick) and Olman Vargas added goals in the first 70-minute segment of the scrimmage. Vargas also missed a PK.
Tommy Heinemann had a pair of goals and Aaron Horton and rookie Kevan George scored in the second stage.
Goalkeeper William Hesmer (ankle) and defender Sebastián Miranda (shoulder) did not play after also sitting the Malmö match, and midfielder Danny O’Rourke was rested after putting in 55 minutes on Wednesday.
Gaven said the results were an extension of what has been a good camp.
“Sometimes preseason can be a bit of a drag. Training twice a day, it’s not always easy to go out each session and work hard and put out your best effort,” he said. “So far that’s not been the case here. Guys have been willing to work.”
From all accounts Vargas, from Costa Rica, and the Chilean Mirosevic have quickly adapted to their new teammates since their signings a month ago.
“The new guys are working hard,” Gaven said. “You can see they know how to play the game. It’s nice to see them get on the old score sheet and put the ball in the net.”
Gaven angles for new parter
Gaven likes to fish in his spare time at the IMG Academy in Bradenton where the team is training. It was also a hobby of former Crew forward Jason Garey before he was released after the 2010 season, and Gaven has been looking for a new fishing partner since.
He may have found one in his Bradenton roommate Carlos Mendes, who came to the Crew from the New York Red Bulls via the Expansion Draft in December.
“He’s caught two or three fish,” Gaven said. “We’re talking of going when we get back to Columbus.”
Gaven said the ponds are stocked with bass and catfish and although he has caught about a half dozen he’s thrown them back.
“I think I caught the same fish six or seven times, but I’m still counting it. I don’t really care,” he said.
The Crew play their final Florida match Wednesday against Seattle Sounders FC prior to returning to Columbus the next day for a week of training before going to Charleston, S.C., on Feb. 23 for the Carolina Challenge Cup.