“Find a rhythm, find a rhythm, find a rhythm.”
That’s the order Mike Petke has been hammering home over the past few days of training, and the tone was no different during Saturday’s sessions at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL.
The team mixed it up once again Saturday morning with a healthy combination of fitness and on-the-ball training. It wasn’t the shooting display that Friday’s session was, but it also wasn’t jam-packed with perimeter running either. Instead, there were a few one-touch passing, tackling, and keep away drills worked in with sprints and various cardio exercises.
All in all, the first session was another opportunity for the guys to start moving the ball around a bit more, but it’s more than obvious that the group is anxious to take things to the next level in end-to-end action.
“After some time off, these guys are itching to get back out onto the field,” Kenny Cooper said after the first session. “With that comes a great energy and I think that’s been obvious. Everyone seems to enjoying themselves, but also putting in a good amount of work.”
The pace picked up in the second session, when the players lined up for 8v8 play. There’s no question that the guys were looking forward to this all week, and it definitely showed in training. One particular highlight-worthy goal came on a great over-the-top ball from Kosuke Kimura that went straight to the foot of Henry. The Frenchman was quick to one touch it into the box to a charging Cooper, who buried it into the back of the goal.
In addition to Cooper, Michael Bustamante picked up two (including the game-winner), while Amando Moreno and Ruben Izqueirdo each scored one.
The squad will rest up on Sunday ahead of its final week of the first preseason trip, which caps off with a match against the Columbus Crew on Friday.
More photos have been added to the top of our photo gallery over on our Facebook page. Over the next few days we’ll also check in with Heath Pearce and Kenny Cooper to get their takes on the start of preseason.