The Colorado Rapids hit the training field in Tucson on Thursday morning for a short session, focusing mostly on recovery after Wednesday’s 0-0 draw against Chivas USA, played under intense heat. Following a quick team meeting in the locker room going over the match, the players headed out for the practice.
The group that played more minutes on Wednesday opened the session with a 30-minute jog, while other players stuck to the standard 20 minutes. After the warm-up, the players moved into some possession, playing in a wide space with the ability to score into three small goals. The goalkeepers worked separately under the direction of Chris Sharpe.
After training, the players had lunch at the facility and then traveled back to the hotel, and will have dinner on their own on Thursday evening. The time in Tucson is winding down, with just one more practice on Friday before a Saturday match against New England and a return to Denver on Sunday.
O’NEILL MAKING STRIDES
Thursday marked the first Rapids practice of this preseason which featured the full participation of defender Shane O’Neill, who has been recovering from a hamstring strain. The Boulder native participated in the warm-up and possession drills, though the practice was relatively light and there remains rehab work to do.
GOALKEEPERS PLAYING SOCCER TENNIS
Following the hard work of practice, the goalkeepers split into teams to work on their foot skills with some soccer tennis. Sharpe partnered with Clint Irwin to take on Joe Nasco and John Berner, and the Rapids veterans took an easy win. So confident are Sharpe and Irwin in their superiority at soccer tennis that the pair volunteered to buy Chipotle in bulk for the other goalkeepers if the newcomers win at any point.