It’s our final full day in Jacksonville and the second leg of our preseason is looming into view.
Following a day of rest after the 9-0 victory over Jacksonville in the first game of 2017, NYCFC’s players made a penultimate visit to Patton Park to train on Saturday before we set off to Ecuador for leg two tomorrow.
Blowin’ in the Wind
Conditions definitely took a turn for the worse on Saturday as the Florida coast was belted with blasts of wind but it’ll take more than some gusts to blow our preparations for 2017 off course!
The session itself was a tough one for the players with a mix of circuits and tactical work focused on playing out from the back and passing combinations.
Only Jonathan Lewis was missing from the field after he hopped over to Orlando to join up with the US U20s as they continued their preparations for the CONCACAF Championships.
On a side pitch, there was some shooting practice taking place where Ronald Matarrita took revenge on our Social Media Manager for donning Snapchat Spectacles for 90% of our time here with an (undeliberate) strike to the rear end.
With all due respect to Austin, he’s had it coming…
Hurry on over to our Instagram story at Instagram.com/NYCFC to see it for yourself.
Reflections on Preseason Opener
Thursday night’s game was a great opportunity for the players to try out the ideas practiced on the training field throughout the last two weeks and Patrick Vieira was huge satisfied by what he saw.
It was very much a friendly in tone which allowed the vast majority of the travelling party to get 45 minutes into their legs after the offseason break.
The trialists all acquitted themselves well and showed that they have picked up a thing or two in the last couple of weeks, so it will be interesting to see who will be retained for the next phase of the preseason when the Ecuador roster is released.
There were a number of talking points to emanate from the game but one we missed in our “Five Things” recap was Maxime Chanot’s display of versatility as he was fielded in the no.6 position at the base of midfield for the second half.
Anyone who watched the Luxembourgian at Yankee Stadium last year will know that Maxime certainly has the ball skills to play this role and we’ll be sure to keep an eye on whether Vieira experiments with this again in the coming weeks or whether it was just a one-off.
With new signing Alexander Ring still to come in to the fold and with Mikey Lopez missing after having surgery on his ankle, this is one of the positions which is still not yet locked down, so it will be fascinating to see who fills the role in Guayaquil and in a couple of weeks when the team land in Tucson for the Desert Diamond Cup.
Farewell to Jacksonville!
For many of the squad, our trip to Ecuador will represent their first time playing in South America, so it should be a great experience for all of the players.
Just as the trip to Mexico provided the squad with a memorable few days last year, this should be a great test for the team in a soccer hotbed with passionate fans inside the stadium and opposition who will ask real questions of us at this early stage of preseason.
One thing is for sure two weeks into our buildup… the team certainly look in great shape for the season ahead – there’s a real feeling that with our mix of continuity from last year’s MLS Playoff-reaching side who’ve had a full year to adjust to Vieira’s methods with the young band of newcomers competing for spots, we have everything in place for a successful 2017.
Next stop: Ecuador!