Cascadia soccer and more – looking back on Arizona training

7 02 2012

Shouts out to all the people back in the Northwest, happy to maintain that soccer connection with you. I’ve been doing a lot of work for of late covering preseason training. It’s all on the site.

Living in Arizona sometimes has its benefits as a soccer journalist and fan. This state gets annual MLS preseason training in Phoenix, Tucson and the biggest town between the two, Casa Grande.

I’ve been extremely busy with work but I have managed to see three matches — New England-FC Tucson, Real Salt Lake intrasquad and Sounders-Whitecaps, with a DC United-Sporting Kansas City matchup planned for this Saturday.

Since I’m more familiar with the Sounders and Whitecaps, I’ll say this about Vancouver: It stockpiled some guys that on paper can be major contributors, but that remains to seen. The ‘Caps need some center midfield help and are giving a long look at two new defenders, as that facet of the game was a big problem in 2011.

From Monday’s starting lineup, I was surprised not to see Jordan Harvey, who I think is a solid choice, in that group at left back, but that could change.

Also strange to see Davide Chiumiento not working with the first team. But that shows the depth the Whitecaps appear to have at the offensive positions. Still, they’ve got to find someone to distribute the ball and connect passes and it may or may not be John Thorrington. The ‘Caps have lot of attack-minded forward types — Seba Le Toux (great to catch up with him BTW), Atiba Harris, Camilo Sanvezzo, Omar Salgado — but seem to be lacking in center mid.

Honestly I thought Vancouver’s starting group in Monday’s scrimmage played better overall than Seattle’s. The Sounders missed some passes, didn’t possess the ball well for long stretches and Vancouver looked more active and attacking. The Sounders did pick it up with their first group eventually, as Adam Johansson served a ball well to Jhon Kennedy Hurtado in the 44th minute that Hurtado just missed hitting with his head toward the goal.

In the 37th minute, Roger Levesque got a head on a ball that just missed wide.

The Sounders clearly have a ton of depth, though, as seen in how the second group started the second 45 minutes of the match even though coach Sigi Schmid thought their effort and energy faded as the half progressed.

Schmid said the Whitecaps were motivated to play hard from the outset for their new coach, Martin Rennie, and that the Sounders didn’t have a scouting report, they just went out and played against whomever was on the field.

Schmid is going to have some hard decisions to make as to whom to keep on the roster.

Cordell Cato, a 19-year-old forward-wing from Trinidad, has impressed in the two times I’ve seen him play for Seattle. David Estrada and Servando Carrasco could push for more playing time after good showings Monday.

Johansson looks like a more than suitable new right back for the Sounders, very good at chasing the ball and distributing from the back to the attackers.

The officiating was bad. Those guys let the game become too physical with all of the hard tackles and fouls. At least the intensity is there on the part of both teams early in their preseasons.

Let’s move on to some visuals… stay with me and click to the next page.

L-R Roger Levesque, Joe Cannon, Jay DeMerit, Alain Rochat

Mauro Rosales with Levesque making the run

Crowd of 150 people for a scrimmage?

Real Salt Lake intrasquad scrimmage Feb. 5

New England star Shalrie Joseph.

YouTube video of Revs-Tucson game coming soon… UPDATE: here it is.




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