US men's national team head coach Gregg Berhalter has been seen in attendance at a few matches at the MLS is Back Tournament in Orlando, ostensibly to watch some of his charges in action. But on Saturday, he also had the opportunity to witness a milestone family moment in person.
Berhalter's son, Sebastian, is a Homegrown midfielder for Columbus Crew SC, who blew out FC Cincinnati 4-0 in Group E play on Saturday. That meant an opportunity for coach Caleb Porter to give some young players some minutes, and he did just that in the 77th minute, subbing on Sebastian along with fellow Crew academy product Aidan Morris.
"I was pleased to give [Aboubacar Keita] his debut last year as a Homegrown player from our club and was really excited to give Sebastian and Aidan their debut today," Porter said after the match. "And I don't give young players a debut unless they've earned it. And those two have been working really hard. And they earned it. So it's a nice moment for them, but also for the club. We believe in our developmental academy and our developmental pathway and fortunately, we're having players come through the pipeline. Hopefully we'll have more."
The elder Berhalter has been a part of some high-stakes moments during his time in the game, but we imagine that probably gave him as many butterflies as any of them. Sebastian might not be getting that many first-team minutes on a Crew team that has lots of veterans and just cemented their credentials as strong contenders in the tournament, but should they continue to show the attacking fireworks they did on Saturday, he could be in line for more than this just this cameo.