So the Florida leg of the Red Bulls prel-season camp has come and gone. They boys are back at their training facility to get ready for a tougher leg as they travel across the country to Phoenix & Tucson, Arizona, as they get rady for the 2019 Mobile Mini Sun Cup.
The players have been going hard at training and preparing for these games, before heading down to the Dominican Republic to face Club Atletico Pantoja in the first leg of the 2019 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League on Wednesday, February 20th.
But the best thing about seeing the players training this week is Florian Valot. As we all know he missed the remained of the 2018 season since he suffered an ACL Tear in his L-Leg before the match on July 8th at New York City FC.
So how has it been since he got back from his recovery from this injury and how did he feel during the Florida part of his pre-season? You would like to believe that he was happy and enjoyed every moment he got on the field.
“I can see what I’m capable of, the confidence can come back slowly but surely.” said Valot. “I think personally I want to improve on what I did last year and it wasn’t a mistake.
“During the Florida trip, I’ve had some good days and some bad days. Those bad days my knees have been feeling painful, sometimes I get tendinitis, so it can be very painful or it could be normal once I start warming up so I don’t think about it too much.
I need to deal with the pain a little bit more. Chris (Armas) told me multiple times that there will be some tightness and some soreness. I am expecting a lot of playing time, Some good build up for the beginning of the season. If I don’t go to the Dominican Republic, then I expect to play during the season.”
Tim Parker is having his first pre-season camp with the Red Bulls since he was traded from the Vancouver Whitecaps during the CONCACAF Champions League run. Without his partner Aaron Long, who was with the US Men’s National Team, what did he have to do to prepare for the pre-season on the back line.
“It’s a little different. Amro (Tarek) just came in this offseason so getting him use to it and Sean Nealis, just need to get them up to speed as fast as we can.” said Parker. “So far Sean has done very well and while we need to get him a little bit out of his comfort zone, but he has done well so far.
“I tried to talk to him as much as I can and tell him about some of the small things that are out there, but it’s good to get young guys who are athletic, and engrain the tactics into him, so that he can get into the swing of things.”
Luis Robles is back as the Captain of the Red bulls for the second consecutive season, as he will be on the goal line once again for the Red bulls to try and stop every single shot on frame, but he’s also excited to have his parents and family watching him play in his hometown state.
“It’s awesome heading back home. My Dad turned 88 years old on New Years Eve in the new year this offseason, but traveling cross country just doesn’t sound appealing to him.” said Robles. “So preparing for this season with him there is special for him and it’s special for me as well.
“It’s special to see them on the sidelines and I get to see old friends and old coaches, to discuss the past and have some conversations, because I remember these great things when I use to be in Tucson.”
What is his thoughts on the club not having Tyler Adams now with sister club Red Bull Leipzig, the new faces from the MLS Super Draft and some of the homegrowns being signed to play for the club whether it’s for the MLS Bulls or the USL Championship Bulls like Omir Fernandez.
Florida was good obviously with some of the new faces, they have a lot to learn, but some of the older guys have helped them out with the process.” said Robles. “Because there isn’t a college program that can teach these guys on how we play every game.
“If they put there trust in the coaching staff and how to get prepared for the tactics, everything will be o.k. So far some of the guys are doing well and all we can hope for is that they are coachable and will get comfortable with the club.”
So as of right now the Red Bulls are already into the swing of things at the Mobile Mini Sun cup out in Tucson, Arizona as they face Phoenix Rising FC from the USL Championship League. Then within a week and a half, it’s the big trip to the Dominican Republic as they face Club Atletico Pantoja in the Round of 16 of the CONCACAF Champions League.