OBETZ, Ohio – Two days after they shared the field for the US national team, the Columbus Crew's Michael Parkhurst and Toronto FC's Michael Bradley now have to prepare for each other when the two clubs meet in Columbus on Saturday (6 pm ET, MLS Live).
And after having a firsthand view of what Bradley was able to do to Mexico Wednesday, Parkhurst said he was certainly impressed.
“I thought it was a fantastic performance,” Parkhurst told reporters after Crew training on Friday. “I thought he was our best player, and it was one of the best performances from a US player that I've seen in a long time. He was everywhere. I was getting tired just watching him run all over the place, he was covering so much ground.”
But Parkhurst covered a lot of ground himself, and after playing games in Seattle on Saturday and Arizona on Wednesday that both wrapped up after midnight Eastern Time, Parkhurst says he's a little tired, but will be ready to go for the Toronto match.
“I feel good,” he said. “Of course [I'm] tired the second day after a game, but I feel like i'll be 100 percent tomorrow. ... All of us have played midweek games before, so it's no different. [Wednesday's match] was an intense game, a lot of running, but I’ll be ready.”
For Parkhurst's coach Gregg Berhalter, fitness of his captain is less of a worry knowing that Bradley was also involved midweek.
“[Parkhurst] flew halfway across the country after playing 90 minutes, but the good thing about this one is that Michael Bradley did the same thing,” Berhalter said. “So they're at least on a level playing field.”
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While both Parkhurst and Bradley are expected to take the field Saturday, star Toronto striker Jermain Defoe will not. And after not getting to play Clint Dempsey because of the Seattle DP's suspension last week, Parkhurst is missing out on playing another star this week, and shared his disappointment with Bradley.
“We talked about it a little bit,” Parkhurst said. “I was telling him I was a little bit disappointed Defoe wasn't going to play, but I'll see him a little later in the year.
“[Bradley] said, 'I'm probably more disappointed than you.' And I said, 'Yeah, that's probably true.'”