The Wasatch Winter Cup is quickly approaching for the Monarchs as the 2019 USL Championship title-holders look ahead to their first real challenge before the new season. This coming weekend, the Monarchs will play USL League One side Union Omaha before facing reigning Wasatch Winter Cup Champions Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC and taking on Louisville City FC in a 2019 USL Championship Final rematch.
A Preseason Friendly
On Saturday, the Monarchs played in a friendly scrimmage against local semi-professional team San Juan FC. The contest saw the Monarchs walk away with a lone goal from Christopher Bermudez while allowing no goals on the other side.
The scrimmage provided a good test of everything that has been focused on through the first two weeks of preseason while highlighting the principles that worked and those that need to be worked on.
“We’re evaluating all these games,” Assistant Head Coach Matt Glaeser said. “The game we played against San Juan and the training sessions. There were some things that we saw in that game that we need to work on for sure, and there were some things we did pretty well.”
Setting up the attack
Head Coach Jamison Olave’s plan to focus on the attack this week has been set in motion. Since the Saturday scrimmage, the Monarchs have been working on passing and transition drills to help build the style of play the team is after.
“Yesterday was really good,” Glaeser said after Tuesday’s training session. “We talked about the build-out concepts and what we are looking to advance the ball from our defensive third into the middle third. Today was more about in the middle third, ideas to unbalance the opponent. Rotations and different movements and concepts to try and free up players facing forward and penetrate.”
After having the last few weeks to focus on the defensive side of the ball, honing in on the attack is the final piece of to the puzzle to successfully defend the USL Championship title.
As the Monarchs head into the final week before the Wasatch Winter Cup, translating the principles learned in training onto the pitch will be a fundamental focus. The last few weeks of preseason have seen the team lay down the pieces with this week and the Winter Cup being an opportunity to put the pieces into place.
“Now the idea is to finish our principles this week in terms of the attacking side,” Glaeser explained. “So we’ve done defending and attacking, now the players have a clear idea of how we want to play. Going into the Cup, we are looking retouching things as needed and making sure we are ready to go for the opening game.”