Preseason Notes: 3/14
There’s a couple days to get caught up on as the club prepares for its third preseason game on Friday morning. The team is nearing a routine of training all week with an eye on a game at the weekend. The next two weeks will mimic the road game routine, as the team prepares for trips to Omaha and Chicago.
Friday morning exhibition
If you’ve got the morning free tomorrow, stop by the domed field at Augsburg College at 10 a.m. to watch Minnesota United’s only home preseason game, a tilt with Chicago amateur side Bridges FC. Bridges FC gives skilled players who lack the network to crack the professional ranks a training and competitive outlet that can help progress their career. Current Minnesota United midfielder Kentaro Takada has played for the club.
Finishing was the name of the game Tuesday morning. Head coach Manny Lagos told the Star Tribune’s Jon Marthaler that the team could have had five goals in the first half of their exhibition match last Friday night against UMKC, and he and assistant Carl Craig used Tuesday’s session to try to instill more ruthlessness in every player. After some routine technical work that split goalkeepers from the rest of the squad, the team reconvened to focus on putting the ball in the back of the net. They started with a 1v1 drill that evolved into 2v2 and eventually 3v3. Quick passing, movement and shot generation were the obvious goals, as well as transitional play as defense quickly turned into attack throughout the drill. The team finished with a three-game 5v5 tournament.
Wednesday’s training session started similar to most: warm up, technical work and goalkeepers working on their own. The session finished with a 9v9 (plus keepers) scrimmage on the full field inside the Sport Hall at the National Sports Center. Wednesday’s afternoon session was optional, giving tired legs a chance to rest with a match coming up Friday.
Thursday morning’s session followed a pregame ritual that was familiar from last season and designed to minimize contact and impact and keep players from getting hurt. Attacking players split from defensive players to work on close range and volleyed finishing. Meanwhile, defenders and holding midfielders worked separately on organization in the defensive third. The practice finished with a game-speed walkthrough on the full-field.
A few new faces
As mentioned Monday, defender Brian Kallman’s brother Brent is on trial with the club, but he’s not the only player currently trying to impress the coaching staff. His teammate at Creighton, midfielder Jose Gomez joined the team Monday. Gomez was a finalist for the 2012 Hermann Trophy and has spent time with Toronto FC during preseason. Amilcar Herrera is a former Marquette midfielder. Another midfielder trialing with Minnesota is former UC Berkeley playmaker Anthony Salciccia, a 2012 All Pac-12 first team honoree. Outside midfielder Joe Lapira remains with the team.
A chance for a title
Two United players are currently plying their trade indoors with the Missouri Comets. Midfielder Lucas Rodriguez and defender Cristiano Dias and the rest of their Comets teammates defeated the Milwaukee Wave last weekend to earn a berth in the MISL Championship Series against the Baltimore Blast. The series kicks off tonight in Independence, Mo., and will be decided Saturday night at the second leg in Baltimore. You can catch both matches live by watching online.