The Super Draft ended on Sunday, January 21st and all the work that was put into it by Jesse Marsch’s staff along with Sporting Director Denis Hamlett looked to be successful and ready for the grind that will be the 2018 MLS Season.
Now comes the start of that hard work by gearing up for the pre-season as this current crop will get ready to begin this season as they start off in international cup competition against Olimpia of Honduras.
For the first half of Pre-Season they are currently in Clearwater/St. Pete area and will face two MLS sides in the Philadelphia Union, New England Revolution and a scrimmage against the University of South Florida.
But during the week of training, most of the time was spent doing two a days to get in some fitness and drills, but over all it was getting back to finding the ways to get the chemistry back with the players and escaping the cold weather as well.
“It’s nice to be out of the cold, it’s nice to be in the sunshine playing on the field, it’s nice to be around the guys again.” said Luis Robles, “Once December hit, right around Christmas time when its starting to get cold, there’s this idea that I love getting ready for preseason, especially in the cold because the important games are played in the cold.”
For newcomers in Tommy Redding and Carlos Rivas, they use to participate in the warm Florida sun when they were with Orlando City, but now with the Red Bulls, it’s a brand new system and when the season begins a brand new atmosphere.
Especially for Redding who will now be entrenched learning the hard pressing style of Marsch and company. “Everybody says it, everybody knows it,” Redding said. ”I know from experience playing against them that it’s a lot quicker and I think it’s been great so far. The pressure’s hard to deal with, but understanding how they practice every day, it makes total sense now.”
While Rivas was lucky enough to have former Brazilian International Midfielder Kaka behind him, he knows that Bradley Wright-Phillips is also a great player in his own right and looks to be pairing with him up top with the man who is nearing the century mark in career goals.
“He’s ready to learn, he’s come in with an open mind,” said Jesse Marsch. ”We’re trying to engage him in a big way and provide him with certain information but, more than anything, let him know right now that there’s a process in place and not to worry too much about ‘Is it going well?’”
That’s the key for a new player coming over to a new side as we all know they are eager to make a solid impression with their new teammates, but it could also be a burden if they over think things and that could lead to a missed assignment or a missed chance for a shot on goal.
In camp right now are the three 2018 Super Draft Picks are forwards Brian White & Tom Barlow along with defender Niko De Vera as well as Venezuelan Midfielder Cristian Casseres. Until the club announces his signing, he will spend the pre-season with them.
So the start of trying to make something special happen in 2018 is underway and let’s hope it won’t be an early round exit in the CONCACAF Champions League, as they will attempt to go deep into this tournament against some of the best clubs in this region starting at the end of February.