After Real Salt Lake’s second day back in Herriman during the third leg of its 2020 preseason preparations, the team’s focus and high energy has continued to shine through.
“From day one we’ve added layers to every principal we’ve presented to the team,” RSL Head Coach Freddy Juarez said. “We’ve hit on multiple areas of the field and situations through the first two weeks of camp and we’re always building on them. From day one we’ve had our base and we’ve been able to build on that.”
While a lot of work has been put forth within the first two weeks, the group’s comradery and energy has been prevalent each time the team steps on the field. According to Juarez, it hasn’t been any one player that has led the group’s energy, the team as a whole has brought the level up with each passing day.
“The team’s energy and mentality has been spot-on,” Juarez reflected. “Especially today when we move to the defensive side of the ball when everyone wants to see goals and the attack. It’s been a joy to coach because of that energy and the work that’s been put in on and off the ball. Whether we’re training things that are easy, entertaining or hard, the group hasn’t wavered and the team has shone.”
On Tuesday morning, Juarez and the coaching staff shifted its focus to defensive principles after spending the opening two weeks of camp implementing concepts on the attacking side of the ball.
“Today we shifted into the defensive side of the ball and how we want our shape to look and how we want to move without the ball,” Juarez explained. “We have several new guys who need to know and understand the mentality that we defend with so today was an introduction for them. I thought we were a great defensive unit last year and this year needs to be even better. After working on the attack, now it’s time to re-introduce and get better defensively as a group.”
Defending was introduced at the beginning of training in drills that forced the attacking team to play through certain areas of the field before scoring so that the defending side could understand the movement as a unit to close down space and win back possession. The second half of training included yet another small-sided team competition – and fitness led by RSL Head of Sports Science Matt Howley – to bring out defensive principles on a larger pitch.
RSL will remain Herriman this week before departing for the fourth leg of the 2020 preseason next week. The team will be in Tucson, Arizona, from February 11-23 where it will train and play three matches in the 2020 Visit Tucson Sun Cup. The team’s full preseason schedule can be found here.