Attacking play has been at the forefront of the Crew’s training sessions throughout the first week of preseason in Chula Vista, Calif., as the Club preps for its first friendly against an MLS team in Vancouver Whitecaps FC on Tuesday, Jan. 28 in San Diego.
Following the team’s first friendly of 2020 against USL League Two-side Venture County Fusion, Head Coach Caleb Porter spoke on the team’s training regimen throughout the first few days of training and how that factors into preseason match-play.
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“The biggest thing we wanted to see were the concepts that we’ve been working on – our attacking principles, our positional play, our ability to create overloads, attract and switch, and then most importantly creating chances,” Porter said following the Ventura County match.
Each player featured in the Club’s scrimmage, with five separate players scoring. It was the first 11-vs-11 match versus an outside opponent, and as Porter mentioned, there was good action, room for improvement, and of course, an opportunity to build upon layers.
“I think we got out of it what we wanted to physically, tactically, and even just from the chemistry standpoint. We are building the layers on our team in all those aspects and I thought we made steps forward,” Porter said.
Shape and pressing were topics that midfielder Artur particularly mentioned when asked about the team’s focus at this early juncture.
“We just started preseason and are focusing on our shape, how we are going to press and how to keep the ball. Those are the two points we are focusing on more now, also the physical part,” Artur said. “We just came back from a long offseason and that’s the thing they are trying to put in our minds.”
With eight new field players on the first-team roster since the end of last season, chemistry will play an important role in the team’s style this year as Artur alluded to tactical aspects of the team's identity.
“We are going to press, and if we are able to go to the goal, we are going to the goal,” Artur said. “We are not a team that will only try to do one thing in the game. We’ll try to dictate the game, but also when we have the opportunity to attack first, we’re going to attack first. If not, we’re also going to keep the ball and dictate the game.”
The depth of this year’s squad will also be something to note as the team works towards the final preseason tournament in Tucson, Ariz. from Feb. 15-22.
“I’m pleased where we are, but we to keep making progress and we have a long way to go still but each of these games it’s more about working on something in training and putting it into place in the game and obviously getting guys a look as well,” Porter said. “There’s always the competition piece where there’s an audition for spots. We have a really deep squad and we’ll have some really tough decisions.”
Kickoff vs. Vancouver is slated for 1 p.m. PT.