Thursday marked the last full training session before the Revs home opener against Toronto FC on Saturday night at 7:30. Friday is normally a light day, so Thursday is really the last day to get a good workout in before a game. Today’s training session focused on possession and simulated game action, as two particular drills took up the majority of training time.
Following jog, stretch and passing drills, the team played an extended game of possession, breaking the drill in two sessions with a drink break in between. The drill was divided up into 8v8 +2 neutral. Head coach Steve Nicol and Shalrie Joseph played the part of the neutrals – another day of full speed drills for Joseph bodes well for the weekend. Nicol was very active today, participating in all passing drills and the possession game.
Nico Colaluca and Edgaras Jankauskas did more side work today, as recovery from his knee sprain seems to be moving along. Goalkeeper Matt Reis even jumped in between the pipes and punched away a few offerings during keeper drills. Taylor Twellman also continued his calisthenics and running.
The final phase of Thursday’s training session was half field scrimmage of 8v8 +1 neutral, with Shalrie playing the part of neutral. This week marked the first time of the season in which the Revs have been able to step up to 8v8. If you have kept up with the training recaps throughout latter part of preseason and into the early part of this season, you will have noticed that the club was playing 6v6 for a while. Bobby Shuttleworth stole the show this morning by making a couple spectacular saves during the scrimmage.
Then, within the last couple weeks, the drills, stepped up to 7v7 and finally 8v8 this week. This is a sure sign that the Revs are finally getting healthy and the athletic training staff is doing a fantastic job and the players are working hard to get back on the field. It can be a frustrating and very delicate situation, as players always want to get back onto the field, but the athletic training staff has to be wary of re-aggravating injuries. Now that players are getting back to the pitch, they need to stay healthy and be able to contribute over the course of the long season as the Revs make a run at an MLS Cup