Daily Update: February 21, 2014

Easier does it, as Rapids prepare for second Tucson challenge, against Real Salt Lake

Pablo Mastroeni in Tucson

Photo Credit: 
ColoradoRapids.com

The Colorado Rapids held a lighter training session on Friday morning at the Kino Sports Complex in Tucson, with the team preparing for Saturday's match against Real Salt Lake. Following a light jog, a warm-up, and some passing drills, the team then split into two teams of 11 for a tactical walkthrough.

Pablo Mastroeni ran through his plans for Saturday's game, working on the mentality and tactics required of the team. He instructed the players to play one-touch if possible, to always be looking for the next pass, and to hold possession as they move forward into attack. 

The team closed the practice by splitting into attackers and defenders, with Steve Cooke working on a crossing and finishing drill with the forwards and Mastroeni (pictured below with Grant Van De Casteele) working on the defense by doing a 3-v-2 exercise in a small space. After a stretch to cool down, the Rapids returned to the locker area for lunch.

BURCH BACK

After a couple days out due to tightness in his back, Marc Burch was back in action on Friday, participating fully. Vicente Sanchez remained out with a knock, and Shane O'Neill continued his rehab work with the Athletic Training staff.

MEDIA TRAINING

Thursday afternoon had the Rapids players in meetings all afternoon, and Friday will be only slightly lighter, as the team has a media training session with Major League Soccer Communications staff. The team had a similar session in Tucson last year, which includes examples of difficult interviews that players and coaches can learn from.

SATURDAY MATCH

The Rapids play their second preseason match in Tucson on Saturday, facing Real Salt Lake at 3:30 p.m. MT, with a live stream on www.ColoradoRapids.com. The other matches will be FC Tucson against the Chicago Fire at 1 p.m., and New England Revolution vs. Chivas USA at 6 p.m.

BOLDEN WITH TUCSON

Former Rapids Academy player and standout midfielder for the University of Denver, Zach Bolden, is training with FC Tucson, and played in the team's first match of the Desert Diamond Cup against Chivas USA. After standing out at both the Rapids Combine and the MLS Player Combine, he was drafted by the Chicago Fire with the 61st overall pick in January's SuperDraft and trained with the team before trying to latch on with Tucson.