G – McGinty
D – Pope, Reyes, Nelsen, Prideaux
M – Etcheverry, Olsen, Convey, Alegria, Villegas, Alavanja
F – Curtis, Lassiter, Moreno, Quintinilla
Quaranta was at practice after working out individually.
Where in the world is Zambrano?
It was interesting to see Convey out 20 minutes early. He, with the guidance of Asst. Coach John Trask, practiced a couple of individual shooting drills. In the first he practiced a cutback across the top of the box and firing into the far side of the goal – shooting with his right foot! Then he worked on taking the ball to the end line and shooting at a tight angle. By the time the team arrived, Convey and Trask began to work on crosses into the box from the side touch.
Practice itself was an extremely light affair because of the game last night. Several of the players were excused. Much of the practice was dedicated on stretching and light warm-ups. The second phase consisted of the individual players working either on 1 v. 1 drills – Curtis, Nelsen, and Prideaux with McGinty playing as GK – or in ‘man in the middle.’
On a scale of 1 to 10 – 1 the worst, 10 the best – compared to Miami Fusion of last year, and the current MLS teams, rate the team in the following areas:
“I would say . . . 6. For me the inability to play the ball quickly and accurately, to my liking. We still dwell on the ball for that extra touch and that extra step. And when I talk about team speed, if you’re about it athletically, it’s a different thing, if you’re talking about the actual playing of the game, on that level team speed, that’s what I’m talking about. Miami was all 1 or 2 touch stuff. It allowed you to advance the ball incredibly quickly. You had the advantage of players with vision that could open the ball out and stretch the field and they would pull the teams all over the field. We hit and miss with it. We do it sometimes, and we don’t do it other times. I still think we’re finding our way with that.”
What about actual physical speed?
“I think we’re about the same. We’re about a 6 compared to everyone else in the league, which isn’t good. It’s not where you want it to be.”
“Again, going back to the Miami team, it wasn’t as if we had speedsters. We had Chris Henderson, which was our Benny Olsen – that sort of drive and continuously being able to stretch a team. And Bobby is pretty much the same on the other side.”
“When we had Preki and ‘Bish’ it wasn’t their speed of physical play, it was their speed of thought and their ability to make the ball do the work. They’re the great teams – Brazil 1970 . . . Holland. They were the teams without the speedsters.”
“I think we get caught up way too much on physical speed in this country to the detriment of the game. If you want that sort of player, Jay Heaps is a great example of a very fast, fit, good player. But has he got the ability to . . . it’s no knock on Jay, but that’s an example of a fast, fit, dynamic player that produces good stuff, but it’s got to be within a structure for it to be beneficial, or else you’re going just going to get a set of athletes running around.”
Team aggressiveness – killer instinct?
“I’d say we’re a bit higher up there than a lot of teams. I would say we’re about a 7 there. It could be greater, especially up front, that hunger and desire. Quaranta’s a great example of that. There’s a huge disappointment and anger within himself that he takes out on himself when he has failed on a goal or an attempt. And he’ll come back looking for it harder, and better and be more aggressive with his play. And he’s such a young kid. I think little Eliseo has got to find that in him. Jaime has had it, and shows it at times, but it doesn’t seem consistently there.”
“I would say our is about a 7 again. I think there’s a real desire to play the game ‘Connect the football’ like we did in San Jose, and like we did against Kansas, New England. Just recently we played good cohesive football going forward. Defensively I think we’ve been extremely sound. But the cohesiveness has not been bad – it’s been a 7. The Fusion for me were a 10 and that’s the standard of it. But it was such a wonderful compliment of players. And I’ve said all along I’m not sure this the true compliment that we’re looking for to produce that sort of football.”
Nicky Rimando? 9.
“Defensively I’d say . . . 7.5.
“Forwards have got to be a 5.”
Team’s future prospects over the next 1 or 2 years?
“We’ve got be . . . Looking at next year, we’ve got to be an 8. Bringing in the type of player or two, that I want to bring in. We can definitely be an 8 or a 9.”