In the team's second full training session of the camp, the coaching staff switched the focus from attacking to defending as they continue to build on the foundation of the last four months. ussoccer.com spoke with Caleb Porter following the Thursday morning session to get a brief glimpse into the planning process.
ussoccer.com: You were on the field for about 80 minutes this morning.Last night the focus was attacking - what did you emphasize today?
Caleb Porter: "Yesterday, we wanted to focus on the attack – possession, getting our passing right, positioning, scoring, and really trying to control the game. Today, we flipped over to the defensive side and focused mostly on the transition and the pressure and the principles of how we’re going to defend with first defender, second defender, third defender and so on, and also developing that ball-winning mentality. We have a six-second rule where we want to win the ball back as quick as we can, hopefully within six seconds. If we don’t, we fall off and maintain our normal shape. But if we’re a team that has the ball and we’re controlling the game with possession and our numbers are good and the other team has fallen deep in their end, it’s an ideal time for us when we lose the ball to immediately press and lock a team in. We want to get into a cycle of soccer where we’re possessing the ball and then pressing immediately when we lose it. So we focused mostly just on that transition, that pressure and that ball-winning mentality."
ussoccer.com: Given the system you want to play, possession and pressure is important.
CP: "It only works if you get both going. If we’re going to get numbers forward, if we’re going to have the ball, if our lines are going to be high, we need to make sure that we’re not vulnerable to counter-attacks. The only way you lock teams in immediately is getting all 10 field players bought into transition and pressing immediately once you lose the ball while keeping shape and maintaining compactness."
ussoccer.com: Why work on defense today?
CP: Well, I think we wanted it in the first two sessions. The first session was the beep test, fitness testing, and getting the legs moving. The second session was attacking and getting that side of the ball from a style-of-play standpoint sorted out. The second session now we flip to defending, so we get that side of the ball sorted out, and then tonight we’ll put the two together."