The New York Red Bulls arrived in Arizona on Tuesday and quickly headed out for their first training in the Grand Canyon State.
The team trained under the lights in a quick, but competitive, session as the focus lands on the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League matchup with Club Deportivo Olimpia.
"Olimpia will have eight games under their belt by the time they play us and we will have none," Head Coach Jesse Marsch said following training on Tuesday night. "We cannot have any excuses. We have to be ready to go and the only way to simulate games is to have training go all the way, so that is what we are trying to do.
"We are trying to control the loads a little bit physically, to make sure we are not risking any injury, but we are trying to push the level every day.”
Marsch said the staff has been scouting CD Olimpia for a while now and will start showing the players game footage and tactics.
"As a staff, we are fully prepared and we will start introducing things to the team this week and start preparing," Marsch said. "We will have a specific game plan in place, we know the opponent pretty well. They are a gifted, technical group of players that play hard, run hard and compete."
Marsch said they know they're in for a fight, as any time a North American club travels down to Central America, "you know you are going to get their absolute best."
Marsch said they traveled a smaller, tighter group with the full focus on the Round of 16 kicking off on February 22 on a neutral site in Costa Rica. The two teams will face off in Leg 2 at Red Bull Arena on March 1.
“Already, from today, it was a spirited group." Marsch said. "I think a group with a lot of energy and talent and excitement about having the level of training raised up a bit. Now it will be my job to try to tack it up a little bit every day so that come two weeks we will be ready."