SANDY, Utah - The Real Salt Lake players are enjoying a momentary pause in their schedule. Some are using it to attend to personal matters. Others are trying to recover from illness or injury or they are trying to get in to top fitness. Whatever the situation, the brief respite was very much needed.
“You need a mental break,” explained Coach Jason Kreis. “That’s why we gave them three days off this week. You need the break to refresh and recharge.”
After taking a few days off, the squad was back on the practice field during the last half of the week and enjoyed a more relaxed version of their typical training sessions on Friday.
“I do think that all week – the three days of training that we’ve had – they’ve been pretty light spirited and that is part of taking the pressure situation of having an MLS match out,” said Kreis.
Missing from the training session on Friday were Nat Borchers who was attending a wedding, Javier Morales who is recovering from a quadriceps injury, and of course Nick Rimando and Kyle Beckerman who are in camp with the US National Team. Meanwhile Tony Beltran returned to the squad after having an illness over the last couple of days.
Will Johnson will not leave to join up with the Canadian National Team until after the FC Dallas match on May 26th. However, he’s enjoying this time to catch up to full fitness after having a sports hernia surgery earlier this season.
“It’s been nice for me,” said Johnson. “Obviously I had the injury and I was trying to play catch up with fitness and sharpness, and so that took a little while and it took a lot of hard work. I haven’t had many days off so this break for me has been great. I feel like I’m really going to be 100 percent starting with the Dallas game.”
Both player and coach brushed aside notions that the lite week will have an effect on the squad in competitive situations ahead.
“It’s one of the big reasons why we scheduled this game against BYU tomorrow night, to keep the guys in at least a competitive mode,” explained Kreis. “They’ll be playing in front of I’m sure a pretty big crowd -typically when we’ve been down there before they’ve packed their stadium.”
Johnson says that next week it will be all back to business.
“We’re all enjoying our break and looking forward to getting back after it next week,” he said. “I think next week you’ll see that it’s an intense week leading up to a very important game for us.”