With CONCACAF Champions League play accelerating Real Salt Lake’s preseason to the confines of four weeks, the team is putting the pedal to the metal during the opening training camp in Casa Grande, with Wednesday’s two-a-day set on Day Four already marking the fifth and sixth sessions in just 72 hours since arriving Sunday evening. While that pace might seem daunting, it has been smooth sailing thus far for RSL, as the squad appears to be seamlessly carrying over the on-field chemistry and camaraderie it maintained during a record-setting 2010 campaign … although that’s probably not all that surprising for a team returning players that accounted for 95% of its minutes played last season.
After focusing on possession and individual/small group defending during the first two days, Tuesday’s lone practice started with various small-sided games that progressed toward on-goal situations by the end of the 90-minute session. Wednesday’s run-throughs would see the squad divvied up into even larger groups, as one group split into full teams for the end of the morning session, while the finish of the afternoon stint saw 8-man teams plus ‘keepers dueling on a 3/4 field.
Wednesday’s big news in camp was the official RSL introduction of FW Arturo Alvarez, who arrived in Casa Grande on Tuesday evening after wrapping up duty for the El Salvadoran National Team over the weekend. Despite featuring five times for La Selecta in Panama City in less than two weeks and mixing in plenty of travel time in previous days, fitness proved to be no issue for the team’s main offseason acquisition, who was described by another recent camp arrival – RSL GM Garth Lagerwey – as “outstanding” during the morning session.
RSL Preseason Practice Notes: Day #4
- RSL’s 29-man preseason roster is now fully accounted for after the arrival of GK Nick Rimando on Wednesday evening. Rimando is coming off national team duty of his own, having played a spotless first half for the USA in its 1-1 draw with Chile at The Home Depot on Saturday.
- Things have been relatively quiet on the injury front, as the only additions to the infirmary report over the last two days have been DF Rauwshan McKenzie, who re-tweaked an offseason ankle sprain, and rookie DF Jarad vanSchaik, who suffered a minor MCL sprain. McKenzie participated in drills on the side with the RSL training staff alongside DF Chris Schuler and FW Alvaro Saborio on Wednesday morning, while vanSchaik reacted well to rehab in the training room.
- The schedule forges ahead on Thursday, with the squad partaking in its usual 10:00 a.m. morning session at Grande Sports World before breaking for “Media Day” activities during the afternoon.
- Friday will see the team split down the middle for what is becoming a traditional mid-opening-camp intra-squad scrimmage. Kickoff is set for 10:00 a.m. MT, and fans will be able to track the highlights as they happen via RSL’s Official Twitter Feed (@RealSaltLake).
- Casa Grande forecast for Thursday: Not a cloud in the sky, high of 72 degrees … Sandy forecast for Thursday: Plenty of clouds in the sky, high of 39 degrees