Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Back to Work..

After spending last week in cold and windy London, the team was welcomed back to training at Dick's Sporting Goods Park this morning with sunny skies and 55 degree weather. It was also the first time this spring that the team was able to practice on natural grass at home.

Prior to this week, the fields at Dick's Sporting Good Park were still frozen, thus too hard to train on early in the spring. Therefore, the team had taken to the turf fields for their home preseason workouts - until today.
With the backdrop of the snow-capped Rocky Mountain in clear view, the team went through a two-hour session out on Field 17. They'll be back on Wednesday for a morning workout, and then a scrimmage against the Air Force Academy later in the afternoon.
We caught up with head coach Gary Smith today to get his thoughts on the trip to England, the players coming back from injury, and the status of the roster:

Undercurrent: Tell us about the England trip; did you get what you wanted out of the trip, and how do you see the team on its return to Colorado?

Gary Smith: “We had a very bright morning today; I thought the guys looked very sharp. I think they’re really pleased to be back home, first and foremost, but on the back of an enjoyable and competitive trip as well.

There’s no doubt about it, the two games we played were physically demanding. The guys that are probably pushing at this moment in time towards the starting eleven got probably more minutes than most. But I certainly want to keep my mind open to the fact that we’ve got good players, good depth in the squad, and everybody should be given that opportunity.

We work towards Friday’s game on the back of that good week; with, I would hope, the fellows in really good spirits, and certainly fired up and enthused after being around such a good environment at Arsenal.”

Undercurrent: When the team left for England, you said you hoped to see some of the guys that had previously been injured in action. How do you evaluate their progress after last week?

“For sure, Pablo is at the top of that list of those injuries that have made the best progress. He played two periods - two 45 minutes. Physically he looks in great shape; I think he’ll just be working towards match sharpness now.

Colin Clark and Jeff Larentowicz slot in behind Pablo with 20 and 25 minutes of football in each game, and I think the pair of them are looking and feeling much better about themselves. With a good week under their belt this week – we have a lesser college game tomorrow – and then obviously a more competitive outing against Seattle on Friday, those two guys will play a good part in each game. And on the back of that, I would hope that they’re in contention for the following week and start of the season at Chivas.

Scott Palguta’s been out for a good period of time, and I think he’ll be certainly someway behind those three guys in competing for a place. And then, just extremely hopeful that some of the other bodies – Jamie Smith, who missed out against San Jose, trained again today – they’ve just got little niggles that I think is just going to keep them out of short periods.

The main group’s looking much more settled and I think working towards what will look a much more familiar lineup towards our first away game.”

Undercurrent: On the recent trialists and competition for spots – is that something you’ll continue looking at?

“I think we’re all pretty comfortable with the way the group’s coming together and settling in. For sure, always, every coach is looking to improve. And, the opportunity to bring in stronger depth, more competition, is just a process of time.

The fact that we have a settled 24 at the moment doesn’t necessarily mean that that will be the same 24 that starts the season. Sadly, that is the nature of the business we’re in. So if the opportunity to bring in better players is there, and that is always the key, than I’d like to be able to explore that. So don’t rule out the possibility of one or two additions before the season actually commences.


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