Training Notes: Braun, starter projections, trialists and more

Training Notes: Braun, starter projections, trialists and more

As with some Fridays, I took in training today, and I thought it may be prudent to share some of my observations. As always, take them or leave them, and they may or may not be based in reality. I sure hope they are, though.

It was a relatively subdued session, with the side preparing largely for tomorrow's match against the Rapids. I got a good look at some folks, although, of course, it's just training, and game day training at that. Without further ado, though:

Justin Braun looked involved and active in the scrimmages he was involved in, communicating well and all that. I do remember him having a good strike or two, but, uh, I can't remember too much more than that. I suppose that's largely because he wasn't involved with what I'd imagine are the projected starters, which I paid a good deal more attention to.

The projected starters seemed to be playing together. If memory serves, they were: Tony Beltran, Kenny Mansally, Nat Borchers, Ned Grabavoy, Javier Morales, Alvaro Saborio, Will Johnson, Yordany Alvarez, and Sebastian Velasquez. Again, that's if memory serves, and I suspect I've forgotten one. I think it may have been Luis Gil. If that's the case, we might have a really, um, interesting lineup out there. As of writing, the injury report's not out, so I don't have any insight as to that. It may be a case of resting ahead of the first CONCACAF Champions League match in Costa Rica at the end of the month. If that's the case, we'll do what we have to do. The only issue? I can't figure out who our central defensive pairing would be. I'm really quite puzzled. Perhaps we'll try a cheeky 3-6-1 or something.

We had two trialists in that I'm aware of: Junior Albon Gbapou, a graduate from the RSL-AZ Academy and a freshman at Yavapai College. Gbapou is a relatively small attack-minded midfielder, and I saw some good moments on the ball from him. The other is Maxime Partouche, who went through the youth academy at Paris Saint-Germain in France and made a sole league appearance for the Parisian side. He was apparently a bit of a cult figure there. Since departing PSG in 2010, he's played at Panionios in the Greek top division and for French third-division US Créteil-Lusitanos. I didn't see too much of him, but I did notice as he left the field that his eyes were incredibly bright. That's something, right?

But don't expect us to sign either right now: Partouche is almost certainly being brought in on a sort-of pre-trial, which we often do with players before recruiting them for our January camp, and Gbapou is likely being checked out while he is on break from his junior college. Still, I've been wrong before (and the frequency of that depends on who you ask) and I'll be wrong again, so maybe this is one of those times. It doesn't seem terribly likely, though.


Oh, and Carlos Salcedo is continuing his training bout with Real Salt Lake, which is encouraging. He's impressed in pre-season, reserves games and training, and to see him — a graduate of the academy — continuing to be involved in the system is great. A quality young, homegrown center back? Count me in.

Right, other than that, there's not entirely too much to report. I'll be back tomorrow morning with a match preview. Perhaps we can go do something about keeping that Rocky Mountain Cup and all that.