TSG spent a second day at US Soccer Camp in Carson. Training was shorter today and included one-touch passing, crossing, possession and scoring drills as well as a shortened-field scrimmage.
- Sitting today’s practice out were Marcus Tracy (who has since been sent back to Denmark), Chris Pontius, Robbie Rogers, Kevin Alston (who did a lot more running again) and Justin Braun. (I was told Geoff Cameron was sitting out by US Soccer, but the USMNT Blog on USSoccer.com does not mention him. As a result, however, I didn’t look for Geoff on the field nor did I notice him.)
- Insightful instruction from Bob Bradley to the troops this morning. Bradley cautioned the defense on not rushing to close out offenders if it will result in a big gap in the defense. Rather, pursue enough to slow down the attack without committing to allow the rest of the team to get back and fill in. If I recall correctly, the USMNT may have taken this advice too far in the El Salvador last September when they were noticeably hanging back instead of closing out near the area.
- Omar Gonzalez continued to look strong. His ball pursuit was impressive and he used his body well to shield and maintain possession.
- Robbie Findley had a gorgeous strike to the top right corner that beat Zach Thornton during the scrimmage. Findley found himself with one defender between him and Thornton, cut back right towards the middle pitch and launched a rocket. At the conclusion of practice Findley remained on the field to work on some left-footed shooting versus the stable of US keepers.
- Dax McCarty was very active today in the mid-field and won some balls through pure hustle and determination. His goal in the scrimmage somehow snuck between Hartman and the post. (see below)
A few commenters have asked what is was like to be at camp. Obviously, seeing such high quality soccer at the field level and having the opportunity to hear what Bradley is barking to players during practice is a treat. But more importantly, seeing the work the team puts in and spending a few minutes with some of the players reminds us why we do what we do and helps connect to the human side of team and players we discuss every day.
As a bonus, upon returning to San Diego late this afternoon, TSG’s tickets for the Honduras match were waiting in my mail box.