Real Salt Lake defender Nat Borchers made his weekly appearance on ESPN700’s The Bill and Hans Show on Monday, giving a bit of a Super Bowl post-mortem – unfortunately for Nat, he’s a big Broncos fan – and assessing the Claret-and-Cobalt’s first week of preseason training.
As always, Nat gave an interesting interview, with his most prescient moment coming in his analysis of new RSL Head Coach Jeff Cassar. Here’s what Borchers had to say about the Claret-and-Cobalt’s new boss:
“It was a great first week of training,” Borchers said. “I think everybody had uncertainties with how Jeff was going to run things and how we would mesh and vibe with the new coaching staff, but it’s been fantastic so far. Jeff’s been very organized, he’s ran some really good training sessions and he’s getting his ideas implemented slowly but surely. We’re getting our base level of fitness going right now, and we’re just going to get better as the weeks go on. I’ve really been impressed with Jeff and his staff, and I’m really excited about this season.”
Borchers and the rest of his Real Salt Lake teammates will be at Rio Tinto Stadium on Tuesday for the team’s annual Media Day. The squad will leave Salt Lake on Tuesday night, departing for Irvine, Calif. for a 10-day training camp at the University of California-Irvine.
CASA GRANDE, Ariz. – Real Salt Lake finished up its first leg of preseason training on Saturday, playing a 60-minute intra-squad match at Grande Sports World before leaving the home of the RSL-Arizona Academy for the Phoenix airport and, eventually, Salt Lake City.
RSL Head Coach Jeff Cassar split the Claret-and-Cobalt into two squads for the match, putting most of RSL’s available regulars on the White team and putting Real Salt Lake’s reserves and some Academy players on the blue team. The Blue team won the match, taking the lead about halfway through the first half when defender Aaron Maund slotted home a penalty kick. Forward Olmes Garcia – who was one of several players to switch sides in the second half – earned the PK when he was brought down in the box.
The White team controlled the rest of the game, holding the majority of possession and creating numerous chances. They weren’t able to find a finish however, with goalkeeper Jeff Attinella turning in a fine performance – which included a save on a Javier Morales PK, again earned by Garcia – to keep the clean sheet.
Real Salt Lake will arrive back in Salt Lake City on Saturday afternoon, remaining in the Beehive State until Tuesday, when the Claret-and-Cobalt will head to Irvine, Calif. for its second of three preseason training camps.
CASA GRANDE, Ariz. – Real Salt Lake is closing out its week in Casa Grande, with the team scheduled to depart the home of the RSL-Arizona Academy after one final training session on Saturday.
RSL had one training session on Friday, with Head Coach Jeff Cassar putting the team through one of the more strenuous sessions of the week this morning. The Claret-and-Cobalt has the rest of the afternoon off ahead of Saturday’s final session in Casa Grande, which will feature an 11-on-11 intra-squad scrimmage.
We’ll have a report of Saturday’s intra-squad game following the match. RSL will return to Salt Lake City after the match, staying in the Beehive State for three days before heading to Irvine, Calif. for the second leg of preseason on Tuesday.
Billy Witz of The New York Times wrote an interesting feature on the U.S. Men's National Team on Thursday, going in-depth on the USMNT's practice of having players drive minivans to and from practice during the team's annual January camp in Southern California.
Our favorite part of the story came towards the end, when Witz shared an anecdote about RSL's Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando providing some roadside assistance to some unfortunate folks involved in a car accident. The passage is below. Top stuff, guys.
From The Times:
"It was not the most dramatic journey of the week. When Kyle Beckerman was driving back from practice Monday, there was an accident not far ahead of his van. He pulled over. Nick Rimando hopped out and, true to his goalkeeping nature, directed traffic. Donovan comforted a distraught young woman involved in the accident; she did not appear to recognize him. The players stayed until the police and paramedics arrived."
Give the entire piece a read, and be sure to check out this photo of Kyle and Nick. It's pure gold.
RSL Captain Kyle Beckerman sat down for a few minutes on Tuesday with Sports Illustrated's Grant Wahl from USMNT camp in Carson, Calif. KB5 and Wahl chatted about the national team, with Kyle sharing what it means to him to be a part of U.S. Head Coach Jurgen Klinsmann's set-up.
Check out the interview above.
It was announced today that Real Salt Lake-Arizona Academy players MF Sebastian Saucedo and GK Christian Herrera have been called up to the U.S. Under-18 Men’s National Team to participate in the Copa del Atlantico in Las Palmas, Spain. The U.S. is making its first appearance in the esteemed international tournament that runs from Jan. 30-Feb. 8. The Americans will face Spain on Feb. 4, Argentina on Feb. 5 and the Canary Islands on Feb. 7.
Thirteen players out of the 18-player roster are currently registered with Academy teams, with four MLS Academies represented. The Real Salt Lake-Arizona Academy is the only Academy to have more than one player named to the U-18 squad.
The Claret-and-Cobalt’s MF Sebastian Saucedo and GK Christian Herrera were among the 24 players called into U.S. Under-18 MNT Head Coach Javier Perez’s January training camp in preparation for the tournament. Saucedo and Herrera have guided the RSL-Arizona U-16 Academy team to a 10-1-1 start through twelve league matches. Saucedo leads the team in scoring with ten goals while Herrera has earned eight clean sheets.
CASA GRANDE, Ariz. – Real Salt Lake had a bit of a lighter day on Tuesday, with Head Coach Jeff Cassar only putting the team through one training session after two-straight double days.
The Claret-and-Cobalt wrapped its training session a little bit before noon, with most of the team then progressing to extra work out on the field with their individual position groups or inside in the gym. The team then had the afternoon off, with several players heading to the movies, some hitting the driving range here at Grande Sports World, and others staying in and relaxing in their rooms.
We’ll have footage of small-sided games and shooting drills from Tuesday’s practice on the site later today. RSL will get back to work on Wednesday, when they’ll take on the RSL-Arizona Academy U-18’s at 11:00 a.m. MT at Grande Sports World. The match is open to the public and free to attend.
CASA GRANDE, Ariz. – Real Salt Lake will play its first match of the 2014 preseason on Wednesday, taking on the RSL-Arizona Academy U-18’s at 11:00 a.m. MT at Grande Sports World.
Expect RSL Head Coach Jeff Cassar to run out a slew of players during the match; he’ll want to get a look at the Claret-and-Cobalt’s newcomers and youngsters, along with giving some time to some of the team’s older hands. Oh, and please don’t read anything into the eventual result. It’s just preseason, and any games – at least at this stage – are primarily training exercises.
RSL is in the midst of its second-straight double day, with one session in the books and another set for this afternoon. The Claret-and-Cobalt will get a well-deserved breather from two-a-days on Tuesday, when they'll only have one training session.
We’ll have a full match report, highlights and photos from the game on RealSaltLake.com on Wednesday. You can find all of our preseason coverage – including an up-to-date roster and schedule, as well as all of our written and video coverage – in RSL’s Preseason Central.
CASA GRANDE, Ariz. - The Day One excitement has worn off, the boots are starting to get worn in, and things are getting serious. Welcome to preseason in Casa Grande.
Real Salt Lake is in the midst of its first double day, currently in between sessions here at Grande Sports World. This morning’s practice was strenuous, with Head Coach Jeff Cassar emphasizing defensive responsibilities and tactical shape for about an hour before breaking up the squad for fitness testing.
RSL Strength and Conditioning Coach Dan Barlow divided the group by position for fitness testing, putting the team through a timed long-distance course. Defender Nat Borchers set the pace for the squad, burning through the two-kilometer track ahead of the rest of the team. Tony Beltran, Sebastian Velasquez, Jordan Allen, Olmes Garcia and Jeff Attinella also showed well.
The team will be back at it this afternoon, with Head Coach Jeff Cassar set to put the Claret-and-Cobalt through the second practice of the day at 4 p.m. MT.