What did our beloved Claret and Cobalt do the evening of March, 10th? They did what they trained for. They did what they most wanted. They did what they are capable of. They “came to score” (The Aggrolites).
After a hard blow like the one we picked up against the Galaxy, it's exceedingly easy to shrink, to shirk your responsibilities and ignore any errors that have come from collective performances. Mentality is a tetchy issue at best, so when you run into circumstances like those, it's important to stand up and recognize that improvement is needed — but that it's not the end of the world.
For their part, our boys look aware of the issues that popped up — they were certainly of their own making — but haven't let their heads drop too far. Sure, the reaction in the match was on the miserable side — but at the end of the day, there's nothing to be done about that result now, and we must, as they say, move on to the next one.
Training bore that out. Where sometimes everyone has looked rather casual, they looked focused today. Jason didn't run anyone too hard — why would he? We've got a match tomorrow! — but everyone seemed well aware of their responsibilities.
Right, with that out of the way, let's go through some notes, shall we?
Nobody looked like they were being worked too hard. This is, of course, a good sign, with things as busy as they are at current. Those who started on Wednesday participated in all drills, but when it came time for scrimmages, they were left to stretch and relax. It's a good sign, really, as we've got to have those guys fit and raring to go. There was a nice few minutes where Grabavoy and Saborio worked together on a small exercise with one of those taut nets for bouncing balls off — or, you know, one of those things. I don't quite know how to describe them. (That's what you get with me!)
However, Jamison Olave was left to do some light training with the ball while everyone else ran through exercises, and Jason Kreis later confirmed that he is most certainly out for tomorrow. He did make a nice joke about CJ Brown coming out of retirement — it's good to see that in these trying times, he can still laugh. (I kid, really. I feel sometimes I'm not melodramatic enough. How'd that go?)
New boy Kenny Mansally trained fully and looked like he was fitting in well with the side, which shouldn't be too surprising. Of all the pieces of the squad puzzle, I think full back may be the easiest to solve, in a sense. Our use of full backs — and indeed, most of the use of full backs in the modern game among progressive teams — is ostensibly an attacking one, with players required to burst forward to swing in crosses and hustle back to perform defensively. We do require a good deal of passing on the outside from our full backs, but that's also not entirely unusual.
As such, full backs, to my mind, can slot more easily into our side, as our usage of them is rather standard. It's not to say that it's not a nuanced position, or that they don't perform an important role for our side. It's more that they're the most modular in our system, and that bodes well for Kenny Mansally ahead of the match. I don't imagine he's likely to start, but should he be required to step in from the bench (if he's asked to be there), I suspect he'll do a fine job. We'll see, really.
It was also nice to see that we had at least one academy kid out there, with Maikon Orellana participating in training. He's a very promising player and, even though he's still quite young (18, you see), he's been called up to the full El Salvador squad. Though he didn't win a cap, it was surely a worthwhile experience for the kid, and I suspect training with the first team will be the same for him. I didn't see anything shocking from him, but he fit in well and didn't look entirely out of place alongside our young midfielders like Nico Muñiz, Enzo Martinez, and Sebastian Velasquez.
Sebastian, too, looked like he wasn't struggling too much through injury, which is a good thing. He showed a bit of that sublime touch and skill he has on the ball, but moreover, he looked like a player more experienced than he actually is.
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Right, aside from that, a short announcement, and we'll be good to go. I've just started work as a contributor at RSL Soapbox. Before you ask: Nothing changes with Under the Crossbar — except, of course, nice changes. You know, like design, or more posts, or — and watch this space — video interviews. Yes, you heard me.
I just thought it'd be nice to let everyone know that I'll still be writing original content here on a daily basis. Or, if that dismays you, you're welcome to continue ignoring me. (I really don't mind if you do. Go on now.)
'Til tomorrow, then, when I'll be back with a match preview. Or perhaps 'til later today with some video. We shall see!