The Rapids had another long practice today, going an hour and 45 minutes in a cold fog at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park. After the normal warm-up and passing drills, the team split into two groups, attackers and defenders, working on tactics and team shape on either side of the ball. The defenders worked first on 2v2 pressure drills, with Pablo Mastroeni coaching players on defensive shape and decision making, before working with a full back four under pressure.
Attackers had a separate drill where they worked on finding the wide players and creating opportunities for the forwards. The two groups then came together to work more on a defensive six – four backs and two midfielders – putting that group under pressure.
The squad closed practice with a full-field scrimmage of about 20 minutes, followed by a 20 minute jog for a cool down. The teams that started the scrimmage were:
Yellow: Joe Nasco; Albert Edward, Drew Moor, Kory Kindle, Chris Klute; Nick LaBrocca, Nathan Sturgis, Marvin Chavez, Kamani Hill, Gabriel Torres; Edson Buddle
Orange: Clint Irwin; Tolani Ibikunle, Marvell Wynne, Grant Van De Casteele, Marc Burch; Jared Watts, Marlon Hairston, Dillon Serna, Vicente Sanchez, Charles Eloundou; Deshorn Brown.
Samuel Galindo and Juan Guzman quickly subbed into the exercise, and with more substitutions, the teams changed throughout.
Before the team even got on the field, the players were already working. Monday began with a video session, where the team dissected last Thursday’s 3-0 win over Houston Baptist University. The coaching staff highlighted certain moments from the game, and then worked on those points during the practice on the field.
SAVING BRAZUCA FOR THE GRASS
The team has been training in Denver so far with last season’s MLS match ball, the adidas PRIME. Although the team has the new BRAZUCA version to hand, they’re opting to save them the wear and tear of the turf until the team returns to the natural grass of Field 20. When the team was in Texas last week, they used the BRAZUCA on the grass fields of Houston Sports Park.
O’NEILL WARMING UP
After only jogging during training yesterday, Shane O’Neill (pictured) participated in the team warm-up and passing drill before going inside to continue his rehab. O’Neill has been nursing some hamstring tightness that he experienced while with the U.S. National Team in Brazil for training camp. Other players that did not participate on-field on Monday were Davy Armstrong, Danny Mwanga and Brian Mullan, while Brenton Griffiths and Dillon Powers began the practice on the field before stepping out of contact drills to do more jogging.