TEMPE, Ariz. – Continuing yesterday's trend of a split squad following game action, the group was again broken into two, with the seven players who played the full 50 minutes on Thursday against the U.S. Under-18s training on their own this afternoon in Tempe.
After completing the daily warm-up, Gregg Berhalter, who was one of those seven, led his group through some short passing drills and fitness work, making sure that they all pushed themselves, just not to heavily, after playing on Thursday.
While Berhalter’s group worked at one end of the field, the rest of the coaching staff took 15 players, which included Chad Barrett, who had missed the previous three days with tightness in his hamstring, to the other end of the field for a passing drill.
The group of 15 was then cut by one, with Bryan Jordan being added to Berhalter’s group after playing a total of 70 minutes over the previous two days. The remaining 14 players were split into groups of seven for four five-minute games. The team of Sean Franklin, Todd Dunivant, Michael Stephens, Dustin McCarty, Miguel Lopez, Chad Barrett and Mike Magee with Donovan Ricketts in goal took a 4-1 win over their opponents in the first two games, only for Juan Pablo Angel, Chris Birchall and Landon Donovan to help inspire their team, which also featured Leonardo, Omar Gonzalez, Juninho and Jovan Kirovski with Brian Perk in goal, to a 5-0 win over the final two games for a 6-4 aggregate goal victory.
The day was not over for Perk as he jumped in goal as Berhalter and Associate Head Coach Dave Sarachan put Donovan, Angel, Barrett, Magee and Lopez through a lengthy series of close-range shooting drills. These ended up going on for more than 20 minutes, with Perk facing a constant barrage of shots. But despite the odds clearly stacked against him, facing four players that have scored more than 200 goals in their MLS careers, as well as Lopez, the second year Galaxy goalkeeper held his own, much to the delight of his teammates that were watching from nearby.
The guys will now have more than 24 hours off before returning to training on Saturday afternoon, a session that looks like it will be played in the rain as a storm front prepares to move into the area. Sunday’s game (at 10 a.m. PT) against Vancouver could also feature some rain, though, after five days of near-perfect weather, the guys can’t complain too much about a little precipitation.
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