Day two of preseason camp in Bradenton, Florida brought a bit of warmer weather and plenty of competitive drills as the team trained at the IMG Academy. As several MLS teams begin to arrive and train on adjacent fields, it won’t be a rare sight to see a fellow Eastern Conference rival on the next field working to prepare for the 2014 campaign.
A FRESH, ORGANIZED START
It may be just the second session under Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter, but the players have certainly begun to get into a groove with their new boss.
“It’s good to be here and it’s good to be back with the guys. It’s been a great start,” said Black & Gold midfielder Ethan Finlay. “Day two, it’s been fun. I think the organization of all the sessions has been great. It makes it a lot easier on all of the guys.
“I think [Berhalter] has created a very competitive environment, already you can see that on day two.”
The team trained in the morning before participating in an afternoon weight-lifting session.
“I think it’s the next step in sports in general: strength and conditioning and keeping players healthy,” said Finlay, who also noted that the 2013 MLS Cup Final featured a match-up of teams that had minimal amounts of season-ending injuries.
“I think it has a lot to do with longevity of players throughout the long season.”
Finlay was keen to mention the importance of proper technique when doing their lifts after a session, noting that it’s about, “making sure the guys have the correct form, because that’s what it comes down to.”
NO NEED TO DEBATE: FREAKY FAST WANTED NUMBER EIGHT
Dominic Oduro spoke about his number change and why he didn’t hesitate about wearing a new number following a 2013 season in the number 11 jersey in which he bagged a career-high 13 goals.
WATCH: Oduro on Number Change
“I’m not really that superstitious,” said Oduro. “I don’t believe in that. I believe in hard work and if you put in, [success] will happen for you. The number [of the jersey] doesn’t make any difference, I’m just glad at the end of the day I have my number eight back.”
SUNNY AND 70
Fog may have rolled in this morning before the team’s training session, but as the workout progressed, the humidity began to rise, bringing temperatures to more than 70 degrees – or about 70 degrees warmer than it currently read on the thermometer back in Columbus.
Finlay was sympathetic to the fans back home, but did note that being down in Bradenton provided several advantages as day two progressed.
“I feel bad for everybody back in Columbus,” noted Finlay. “The warm weather is definitely nice to train. It’s definitely nice to be on grass, that’s for sure.”
As club Designated Player Federico Higuain pointed out on Twitter, the Argentine is temporarily still in Columbus amongst the snow ahead of his departure to Bradenton. Media reports mentioned that the MLS 2012 Newcomer of the Year is expected down to Florida as early as Tuesday after Higuain was battling an illness when the team departed on Sunday.
Lo bueno es que no esta tan fresco (-14) Extrañando los odiados 40 grados!!! Saludos a tod@s!!! HLVS pic.twitter.com/DVbCdRHsHI— Federico Higuain (@FHiguain_33) January 27, 2014