Real Salt Lake wrapped up its first week of training camp on Saturday at the Zions Bank Training Center in Herriman, Utah, with a scrimmage against the RSL Academy. Much of RSL’s roster played 45 minutes in a 3-0 win that saw one goal from Academy forward Chris Garcia, who has been training with the first team all week, and two from newly signed Homegrown forward Milan Iloski. While the result went the way RSL expected, the way of reaching that result also matched expectations.
“The Academy guys came out, we asked them to press with a lot of energy and forced us to have to think, especially with heavy legs,” RSL Head Coach Freddy Juarez said. “It’s been a tough week mentally and physically so what we got out of today was exactly what we wanted. By no means was it perfect, but what we were looking to get out of it, we got out of it.”
In the first half, Garcia put away his opportunity late after ringing one shot off the post earlier in the half and providing a consistent threat up the right wing. Iloski, meanwhile, had no trouble putting away chances at the beginning and end of the second half. It was a good conclusion to the week for RSL after going through some extensive video work in addition to the fitness and tactical work on the field.
“We think our front guys gave a little bit more options running in behind. Albert looked good with his movements and the ball wasn’t always delivered, but it starts with the movements,” Juarez said. “As a whole, the group was good. When we look at our numbers from last year to this year, the guys got a lot in the first week. It’s not just the physical part, but the mental part takes its toll as well. What we wanted to accomplish we got accomplished.”
RSL’s first half lineup: David Ochoa; Aaron Herrera, Marcelo Silva, Taylor Peay, Ashtone Morgan; Kyle Beckerman, Nick Besler; Chris Garcia*, Albert Rusnák, Pablo Ruiz; Maikel Chang.
*Garcia is an RSL Academy player training with the first team.
At roughly 30 minutes into the scrimmage, Andrew Putna replaced Ochoa in goal.
In the first half, the Academy lineup was supplemented by Julian Vazquez and Tate Schmitt from the first team roster as well as non-roster camp invitee Luke Mulholland.
RSL’s second half lineup: Andrew Putna; Alvin Jones, Erik Holt, Nedum Onuoha, Donny Toia; Everton Luiz, Justin Portillo; Dayonn Harris*, Luis Arriaga, Corey Baird; Milan Iloski.
*Harris is RSL’s first round pick in the 2020 MLS SuperDraft and is unsigned.
At roughly 15 minutes into the second half, Zac MacMath replaced Putna.
RSL travels to Arizona for the second leg of camp in Phoenix beginning on Monday. The second leg of camp runs through Saturday, February 1, with a morning scrimmage capping off the week in the Grand Canyon State.
“We will still stay on some attack and then we will transition in the middle of the week into the defending principles,” Juarez said. “Then we will start getting some of those competitive games.”