Real Salt Lake is done with the hard part of its opening training camp of 2011 after knocking out a crisp 90-minute training session on Monday morning. After warming up with the usual “2 in the middle” keep-away games, Head Coach Jason Kreis put his charges through some passing exercises and 5-v-4 possession drills before splitting up into three groups of eight, with two sides squaring off in larger possession-oriented games while the other worked on finishing drills from distance with assistant Jeff Cassar.
The teams then entered the “caged rectangle” for some 8-v-8 games towards full goals with ‘keepers, with the third team ringing the field as neutrals. In the “winner stays” format, it was the Yellow squad – consisting of Arturo Alvarez, Luis Gil, Will Johnson, Rauwshan McKenzie, Javier Morales, Robbie Russell, Chris Wingert, and RSL-AZ product Ricardo Velasco – dominating the proceedings, as they had to be forced from the field by Kreis so that the Blue and Red sides could play for second place in the final game of the 20-minute session. After going through some set piece defending drills, the Claret-and-Cobalt would call it a day – and a wrap for the practice portion of the Grande Sports World training stint.
RSL Preseason Camp News & Notes – Day 9
- Real Salt Lake will close out its 10-day stay in the desert on Tuesday with its first look at one of MLS’ pair of new teams for 2011, Vancouver Whitecaps FC. In order to get a lengthier look at their squads, RSL and Vancouver have agreed to play three 45-minute periods during the scrimmage, which will kick off at 11:00 a.m. MT and can be followed on RSL’s Official Twitter Feed, located at www.Twitter.com/RealSaltLake (@RealSaltLake).
- Monday’s session featured some encouraging news on the injury front, as both FW Alvaro Saborio and DF Chris Schuler returned to the field alongside their teammates as “neutral” participants for the first time since the beginning of camp. While those two will likely not play on Tuesday, DF Rauwshan McKenzie looked sharp and fully recovered from an ankle sprain suffered early last week, putting him in contention for some minutes versus Whitecaps FC.
- GK Kyle Reynish was the only player to suffer a knock in recent days, as the #2 ‘keeper suffered a minor shoulder injury on Saturday, which kept him on the sidelines Monday and makes him unlikely for participation in Tuesday’s scrimmage. Also out for the exhibition will be rookie DF Jarad vanSchaik, whose rehab from a sprained MCL progressed to running on a treadmill the last two days.
- Real Salt Lake finally got some company at the Grande Sports World complex over the weekend, as Vancouver hit the fields for the first time on Saturday, while their Cascadia Cup rival Seattle Sounders FC arrived here in the desert on Sunday. RSL will face off against SSFC in a scrimmage during its second Arizona stay between Feb. 7-15, which will be based at the Reach 11 Soccer Complex in Phoenix.