Real Salt Lake returned to the training pitch at The Zions Bank Training Center on Monday to continue preparations for the upcoming 2021 Major League Soccer regular season.
Freddy Juarez and his staff put the team through its paces through a small-sided team competition before breaking the positions groups into their own areas of the field to work directly on the essentials.
Juarez, who after Saturday’s second intra-squad scrimmage was impressed by the physical and mental fitness and intensity levels of the group and the newly acquired Anderson Julio, has liked what he’s seen from the team through two weeks of the preseason.
“Julio is a great player who we’ve had our eye on for some time now,” Juarez explained in an interview with ESPN 700 on Monday. “When the opportunity to land him came about we were very excited. We like the quality that he possesses and he’s a player that threatens the opponent wherever he is on the field. To have a winger of his quality during the current state of the game will allow us to play vertically in a threatening way and open up spaces for other players on the field.”
With the core of returning players already deeply hungry to progress through the 2021 season having fallen short of its expectations in 2020, the team has been able to refocus itself on turning the corner for a better 2021. The returning players have used that hunger as a driving factor in acquainting the new faces in the locker room to what it takes to be successful in MLS.
Results that have already shone through according to Juarez.
“We have a great core of players leftover from last year, so we didn’t have to start from scratch which is good,” Juarez said. “We’re trying to get sharper right now and the group has been very good. Both the players and the staff have really been putting in the work and the vibe around the team is excellent.”
RSL continues camp at the Zions Bank Training Center on Tuesday with two training sessions.