An interesting mix of guys played a half-field scrimmage today. After the full squad warmed up and most of the starters went back inside for their regen workouts, the players who did not start Saturday's match took to the field. Interestingly, Kris Boyd and Eric Alexander joined the players who didn't start, and Andrew Jean Baptiste was on the field as well, in spite of having also played over 60 minutes on Saturday.
- We saw some work from Charles Renken on the wing (no word on whether he'll make an appearance in tomorrow's reserve match in San Jose) and trialist Kasali Casal, both of whom appear to share a fondness for knee-high socks. They both look extra lanky wearing them.
- Casal, a 24-year-old left-footed defender, hails from London and was brought up in the Fulham youth system before making four appearances for DC United and spending a couple of years with Swindon Town. He most recently spent time playing in Romania and Hungary.
- We also saw David Horst doing some short passing with Cameron Knowles, but he still has a way to go before he's playing. Sal Zizzo, on the other hand, will definitely be playing in tomorrow's reserve match.
- And speaking of the reserve match, Knowles will be serving as the reserve coach, at least for this first match. Spencer said he wanted Amos Magee to stay behind with the rest of the squad ahead of Saturday's match against RSL.
John Spencer saw only one positive from the match, and that was Franck Songo'o.
I'll hit you later with some quotations from the two of them once I get a chance to transcribe them.
Franck Songo'o is very soft-spoken, and between my Android 1.5 smarty phone and some of the boys still practicing and shouting behind him, I unfortunately wasn't able to transcribe much of what he had to say. But here's what he said about his fitness:
I'm feeling confident. I wasn't sure that I was going to be able to play that way, but my legs and my feet feel well, so, just confident and ready for the future.
General thoughts on the New England match
Well, obviously disappointed, and I thought we'd got over that little hump, being on the road. I think, obviously going a goal down in the 30-somethingth second gave them a major lift. But as I say, we can't dwell on it, we've got to move forward now. I had a chat with the guys after the game -- it's one of them games where very rarely does it happen when you have everyone on the field not playing well. And I think the only one bonus we can probably take from it is Franck Songo'o came into the game and actually got through it nice and healthy and actually looked a little like the quality player that we signed.
Were there any positives at all?
Nah, I don't think there were any positives. I mean, let's be fair. As I said Franck Songo'o was the most positive. Generally when you lose games and you say, you know what, this guy played well, this other guy didn't play well, but I think if everybody's totally honest with themselves, from the first whistle we made mistake after mistake leading up to the goal. We made four mistakes before they'd even crossed the ball into the box. So whether it be lack of pressure on the ball, whether it be lack of communication, whether it be guys dropping runners.
We probably should just move on. As I say, we're three games into the season. One of them ones where you just wipe it off the -- try to wipe it off, I mean, I've found it difficult to sleep the past few days just thinking about the game, but we've got to move on and just put it in the past and focus on Salt Lake.
Well, it's a difficult game. Another one. I mean you look at New England and everybody, myself included, felt it was a team we could get on the field and beat. But it's a difficult league. You get very, very strange results at times. We saw Salt Lake at home losing to Chivas -- I don't think anybody would have predicted that one. That's why, as I say, it's an unpredictable league and a very tough league to coach in, to play in, and to predict in.
They're coming here this weekend, quality team. Jason [Kreis] has done a great job there, bringing a lot of quality players, but I think there won't be anything to fear if we come out and play the way we want to play.
I know that he's gonna be out for Saturday's game for sure, he's got a fractured left eye socket, and a concussion ... so obviously our thoughts are with him and hopefully he gets back to full fitness here soon.
On Sal Zizzo
Well, as I say, he's been on the field now and starting to look sharp. He just needs to get a few games and trainings under his belt. You know, it's a horrible injury for any player, and he's that explosive type. So he'll get down and play for the reserves tomorrow and hopefully get through that game, get some minutes in there and build his confidence, and within the next month we'll start to see him getting back on the bench and in the XVIII, and see if we can get him into the game.
On Cameron Knowles coaching the reserve team, hopefully to victory
Yeah, obviously Amos [Magee], he loves doing that job, as I did in Houston, same thing, put a lot of time and effort into it, but Amos obviously has to stay here with myself, so Cameron and Jim Rilatt will be down there with the reserve team and coach down there.
I think we're going down there to win the game, I think last year the reserve players did very well and worked hard and tried to win the reserve league. It's the same mentality that we've got this year. Young guys get out there, we think they're good players, they've got to show they're good players and try to get three points -- on the road.
And finally, an awesome exchange in which Spencer calls out a certain reporter for basically asking John Spencer, "Can you just write my next story for me?"
Stephen Alexander: "Can you talk about the way Kalif Alhassan has grown as a player from last year to this year?"
John Spencer: "I don't know if he has. I mean, in what way would you say he's grown?"
SA: "I ... I'm not sure."
JS: "I think he's inconsistent. I think for the second 45 minutes against Philly, I think he played some of his best moments in the game. Since then, he's been very average. So I don't know where that 'growth' is coming from. Have you seen anything different from him?"
SA: "No. You're the coach, that's why I'm asking."
JS: "Well, it must be in your mind if you're asking the question, right?"
SA: "Ehm, what do you do to try and get him to be more consistent?"
JS: "I don't know. As I keep saying to you, all young players -- and it's not just Kalif -- Darlington, Sal -- all the players have to be more consistent. To be a good player consistently in this league, you have to practice as you play, on a daily basis. That's the only way you hone your skills, and that's the only way you become a better player. When you finish practice, when the practice is over, how long are you staying on the field to work on your skills, crossing, shooting? That's the only thing that makes you a better player. Training for an hour and a half a day, and then walking into the locker room after practice doesn't make you a better player. You've got to take the extra time and if you read all the articles on the Messis and Ronaldos, hours upon hours they spend at the club, hours upon hours they spend on the training field, that's why they're world class players. Because they have an ability, but they don't rest on their laurels. They try and get better and better and better. That's why they succeed in the game."
SA: "And do you see Kalif not doing that?"
JS: "Do you?"
SA: "I don't..."
JS: "Well, you answered your own question, then."