Fourteen players trained twice Monday, the morning session lasting right around 60 minutes. After a solid warmup, the coaching staff got the group jumpstarted with a crossing and finishing exercise. The idea paid off, because the next game of 5 v. 5 proved an absolute cracker. Sharp ball movement, high tempo and some clinical strikes were the order of the day. Pretty darn fun to witness!
The twilight session took place at FirstEnergy Stadium, and the first impression was fantastic. The field is an absolute gem! Traveling media got their first chance to speak to U.S. players, and they naturally gravitated towards the big stories for the first week: the impending 100th cap for DaMarcus Beasley, the return to training for Stuart Holden and Sacha Kljestan's matchup against teammates and comrades for Belgium.
A misty rain fell throughout, the team going playing some small-sided games before doing functional training with more crossing and finishing. The 'keepers were on their game and needed to be given the shots they were staring down.
Afterwards, players spoke with ussoccer.com for upcoming Studio 90 features including a scouting report on Belgium and a tribute to Beas. The usual fare of post-training shakes and cold tubs for recovery, and it was back on the bus.
It's fair to say that the little prep time available has been used wisely so far. On to Tuesday!