RSL shovel snow, then prepare for familiar opponent
LEHI, Utah — The weather for Real Salt Lake’s practice on Wednesday afternoon was similar to that of Tuesday: cold, with snow on the ground.
However, unlike Wednesday’s practice which was held indoors, this one took place at their normal training ground, Xango Field, here in Lehi. Which means that coach Jason Kreis and his staff started out the training session in an unusual way: They shoveled snow.
“See that big machine over there,” Kreis said, laughing and pointing to the snowplow that was used to clear the field. “It did most of the work, but there were shovels in the hands of every single coaching member here.”
The practice session lasted just short of an hour and a half and featured a lot of scrimmage work. It started out with some small-sided games and progressed to a full-sized field.
A few players were missing from the action. Alvaro Saborío, Paulo Junior, and Nelson Gonzalez were all on the sidelines watching the action and doing some fitness work. All three have been facing some lingering issues over recent weeks, even though Saborío and Paulo Junior played in the most recent match against Colorado.
However, the biggest concern was about RSL midfielder Will Johnson who injured his hamstring in practice on Tuesday. He is reportedly day-to-day, but a member of the training staff indicated that it was not as serious as they initially feared when it happened.
As for their opponent for Saturday, FC Dallas, Kreis feels that having played them recently provides a bonus for their preparations.
“It’s fresh in our minds," Kreis said. "It’s an interesting scenario where we won’t have to necessarily look at video of them playing a different opponent. We can look at video of them playing us.”
As they prepare for the coming match, one player Kreis expects to see in the Dallas lineup is goalkeeper Kevin Hartman.
“We had heard that he was going to play in LA, and I think that he, along with two other players, was left out of that match so that they would be fully prepared for this weekend.”
Ready to launch: MLS Matchday 2010, The new official MLS iPhone app. It's FREE! Download it here!