After one match against Sacramento State University and a day of rest, Real Monarchs SLC returned to training in Davis, California as preparations for the 2018 season continue. As the team opened the week with training during its preseason venture in the Golden State, focus is geared toward a mid-week matchup with Western Conference and regional rival Reno 1868 FC on Wednesday. Daily objectives have been set forth by Head Coach Mark Briggs and his staff to establish an identity and build tactical coherence.
During preseason, a team is provided with ample opportunity to generate and cultivate chemistry ahead of a long season. But the Monarchs aren’t just looking to build chemistry, but rather an identity within the style of play the staff is enforcing. Establishing an identity and building the infrastructure of that identity for the season ahead is something Briggs and his staff have placed significant focus on during this preseason.
“The boys are certainly grabbing ahold of what we’re putting in front of them,” Monarchs Assistant Coach Danny Cruz said. “We’re getting more familiar with each other and one another’s tendencies on the field. We’re looking for those relationships to continue growing as we get closer to our match with Tulsa on opening day.”
Paired with the identity being established within the team is the familiarity with one another. While the club returned the bulk its core from a season ago, new faces continue to integrate and sturdy relationships on the field are becoming evident.
Piecing the Puzzle Together
In the match against Sacramento State, Briggs utilized two different lineups with players all playing 60 minutes within the two groups. The match totaled 120 total minutes split into four, 30 minute periods, giving Briggs the opportunity to tinker with his lineup options and evaluate various locations on the field.
“Everyone is blending in together really well,” Cruz explained. “I think everyone is grasping the concepts and the attitude has been first class from everyone who has been here in California.”
Through the first several weeks of the 2018 preseason, a few players picked up slight knocks in training. With the side approaching full strength, Briggs has nearly his entire roster at his disposal for the match against Reno 1868 FC and Fresno FC on Saturday. The Monarchs regular-season opener is just over two weeks away and while the building blocks continue to be assembled with matches against top USL competition, the importance of a healthy squad during the entirety of preseason remains a priority.