Courtesy of the team and Zac Kaplan..
First day of training at Grande Sports World in Casa Grande, Arizona The team had a 5:30 am departure from their facilities and left for their three-hour flight to Phoenix at 7:30 am. A one hour bus ride took them to Casa Grande and training began at 4pm.
New faces were goalkeeper Derby Carillo, defender Eric Winblad, midfielders Josh Gardner and Yakir Lusky and forward Eddie Johnson:
Eddie Johnson is a 25-year-old forward that started his pro career with Manchester United when he signed as a junior player in 1999. He went on loan to Royal Antwerp, Coventry City and Crewe Alexandra, netting 15 goals in 59 games over those two and a half seasons. He went on to play two years for Bradford City and one season with Chester City before coming stateside in 2009 to play for the Austin Aztex in the USL.
Yakir Lusky is a 23-year-old Israeli midfielder who scored four goals over 32 games in his six-year career in the top division of the Moroccan league system. In that span he played with Hapoel Tel Aviv, Hapoel Petah Tikva, Hakoah Amidar Ramat Gan and Hapoel Ashkelon.
Josh Gardner is a 27-year-old midfielder who scored seven goals over 52 games in 2007 and 2008 with the Sounders in the USL, helping Seattle to the USL-1 Championship and Commissioner’s Cup in 2007. He was originally drafted 13th overall in the 2004 MLS SuperDraft by Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid, then coach of the LA Galaxy. The left-sided midfielder played 21 games over three seasons before his release prior to the 2007 season. After his two years with the Sounders, Gardner played with the Carolina Railhawks in 2009.
Eric Winblad is a defender from Azusa Pacific University. In 18 games his senior season he tallied two goals and two assists. In his junior season he was the Brine-NAIA Player of the Year after moving into a midfield role to help an ailing offense. He tallied ten goals and six assists in four years at Azusa.
Derby Carillo is a goalkeeper from St. John’s University. He had 11 clean sheets in 20 games last year with the Red Storm, going 9-2-9 with a 0.45 GAA in his senior season. He played two years at Cal-State Dominguez Hills.
The team split into three groups for some small-field games with rules dictating players limited to three touches.
ORANGE: Terry Boss, Taylor Graham, Tyrone Marshall, Jamel Wallace, Lamar Neagle, Nathan Sturgis, Stephen King, Gardner and Johnson.
BLUE: Kasey Keller, Leo Gonzalez, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Winblad, Osvaldo Alonso, Sanna Nyassi, Lusky, Jarrod Smith and Fredy Montero.
YELLOW: Chris Eylander, Tyson Wahl, Patrick Ianni, James Riley, Brad Evans, Freddie Ljungberg, Roger Levesque and David Estrada.
ORANGE vs. BLUE: The only goal came when Neagle snapped a ball toward the middle from the right corner and Johnson darted in front of Keller to redirect it in for the score.
ORANGE vs. YELLOW: 0-0 scoreless.
YELLOW vs. BLUE: Riley and Montero scored within two minutes of each other before Smith connected on a late game-winner.
Quote from COACH SCHMID:
“We accomplished what we wanted to do fitness-wise today. Right now I think we’re looking more for fitness than we were for quality and I think as we taper down, we’ll look a little more for quality. It was good. When you get up early and have to fly down and everything’s new, nerves were there. And we had some new players out there. So we let them get a sweat and run around a little bit to get the edge off.”