Tuesday, November 13, 2007

First Day of Training

With 13 of the 17 players having arrived in Jo'burg, the team took to the field today for its first training session this week. The workout was mostly light as the guys ran off the last existing bits of jet lag accrued from the massive journey here. Today was more about just getting moving; tomorrow they'll get down to business on the field.

We trained at Ellis Park (we'll have a longer post about the stadium tomorrow) and the pitch was in excellent condition. After about a half an hour of some technical drills, the guys finished with a large game of 11 v 2 keep away (featuring Peter Nowak to make up the numbers). Finally, the guys cooled down with some work on their own.

As expected, a game of horseshoes broke out, but we'd also like to report on an old game that has been recycled back into training. The object is to chip the ball off the cross bar and then finish the ensuing rebound out of the air with one touch. Various members of the coaching staff, plus Michael Bradley and Brad Guzan, took part in today's bitterly fought contest.

Brad Guzan came close to winning, but his volley into the goal was ruled to have touched the ground, to the dismay of the MLS 2007 Goalkeeper of the Year. Eventually, assistant coach Mike Sorber won honors for the day when he followed up his graceful chip off the crossbar with a powerful diving header into the corner of the goal from 12 yards out.

As you can see from the above pictures, Brad was ecstatic with what he thought was a well earned victory (top). However, his goal was ruled out, and overcome with emotion at what he perceived to be an injustice, he crushed a ball to the opposite end of the field (bottom).

Soon after, we were back in the bus to the hotel, where we settled into lunch as the remaining players arrived from the airport.

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