TEMPE, Ariz. – The LA Galaxy held their second training session of the week in Arizona on Tuesday morning, once again taking advantage of pristine weather in the area with a spirited two-hour practice. With temperatures hovering around 80 degrees and hardly a cloud in the sky, the coaching staff put all 26 players through an intense session that helped to build on their work from Monday, as well as getting them prepared for tomorrow’s game against Colorado.
Per usual, Strength and Conditioning Coach Ben Yauss took the team through their warmup, which was highlighted by some mirroring drills that saw two players facing one another, with the follower trying to mimic the cuts and movements of the leader before breaking off for a short five or 10-yard sprint.
Once they were sufficiently warmed up, the players worked on their one and two touch passing over short and intermediate distances. The focus was on getting all the players ample touches on the ball while also getting them to keep the ball on the ground, making it easier for their teammates to receive.
Once that was done, assistant coaches Curt Onalfo and Gregg Berhalter took the defenders and some of the central midfielders to one end of the field, while head coach Bruce Arena and associate head coach Dave Sarachan took the forwards, wide midfielders and two central players to the other end of the field for crossing and finishing work.
While the defensive group was focused on building an attack from the back and being able to pass your way out of trouble, the attacking players peppered goalkeepers Josh Saunders and Donovan Ricketts with shots. Playing across the width of the field, the ball would start at one goal to be played between the two central midfielders, who would then feed one of the wingers, setting up a cross and hopefully finish from one of the two forwards who were running onto the ball. As that was going on, passes were being sent from the side of the goal to a waiting forward, who would take one touch and hammer a shot at the other goalkeeper, or hit it first time.
After nearly a half hour of that, the two groups were combined for a full field 11v11 game, first featuring 10 minutes of shadow play during which the team on defense could only put light pressure on the ball, emphasizing team shape and cohesiveness. The proverbial training wheels were then taken off and the guys played 15 minutes of full speed game action that saw Juan Pablo Angel finish off a Landon Donovan cross, giving their team a 1-0 victory.
After the session, the team had about 20-25 minutes of free time that saw Adam Cristman, who arrived from Virginia on Monday evening, put in some extra finishing work with Brian Perk and Sarachan, and Chris Birchall working on his distribution and passing along with Onalfo.
Back at the hotel, the players made their way after lunch to the training room, where they got massages and any injury prevention work done by the club’s training staff. Additionally, Dan Keat, who has been stepping up his workouts over the past two weeks, jumped into the hotel pool for a quick workout with Yauss and Head Athletic Trainer Armando Rivas while many of the hotel guests looked on.
The team will be back on the field Wednesday afternoon when they take on the Colorado Rapids. The game kicks off at 10 a.m. and we will have all of the coverage right here at lagalaxy.com.
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