After three days of training camp some things have become clearer and some things have not. The format has been split session training sessions, the early one is for veterans and the later one has been for younger players, draft picks and players on trial.
The veteran session has most of the returning players plus the off season additions of Thomas, Convey, Nagamura and Peterson.
Nagamura has been rehabbing so he has mostly been running, doing various drills to ensure he is ready but is slowly being worked into the full drills. Thursday he was doing some of the drills but went running when they started to scrimmage.
Vermes has been very vocal which is not unusual but what is a little out of the ordinary is how he has been talking to Matt Besler. At least once each day he has told Besler that he needed to tell a player what to do. Be it get your head back in the game, face the ball, or something else it is clear that he is looking to Besler to be a controlling force (leader) on the field. With team captain Davy Arnaud gone to Montreal, does that mean he is going to name Besler the captain? No, but I think it’s clear he is in the running for that leadership position.
The speed and fitness level is incredible for this early. While most everybody came back in as good or better shape than they left, there are some that stand out. A group of players stayed in Kansas City and worked out intensely in the off season and all made measurable improvements. Besler demonstrated last year what a good off season program can do. He convinced Sinovic, Thomas, Myers, Zusi and Espinoza to all stay around and work out together. It is obvious from watching them that their hard work has paid off. Besler won his group’s beep test and the overall agility test as well. Another example of Besler demonstrating leadership.
Fitness coach Mateus Manoal gave everybody workout plans for the off season and is pleased with the result. Using the technology at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park, they were able to determine that Sporting KC was the fittest team on the pitch in at least 90% of their matches. This year that percentage should improve.
Diop has not reported and his smile is missed. According to coaches, he is taking care of a family issue. It would not be surprising if he turns up in Colombia with former Sporting KC coach Octavio Zambrano.
Since they came back so fit as a group they do not have to spend time getting in shape and can jump right into training, getting touches on the ball, getting their timing and learning the style for the newer players.
Convey has looked sharper each day but it is also clear that it will take him some adjustment to the style of play and the high pressure expectations that the other veterans have now come to expect.
As sharp and focused as Harrington has looked this week, it is clear he wants to reclaim a starting spot.
Thomas looks like a great pickup, especially in trade for a fourth round supplemental pick. Vermes seems to want him to be more of a defensive mid but he has a foot on him. Of course everyone is supposed to be in the offense so he will get some shots.
Each session has started with drills that became more complex throughout the session. Adding overlaps and passing patterns not only to see what the players can do but to develop the patterns and expectations for game day.
The second training session has mirrored the first each day in every way except speed. The veterans are very used to what they are doing, it is not new for most of them. The second session has only a couple players that know what to expect. The second training session has included players like Kevin Ellis, Daneil Cyrus, Konrad Warzycha, draft picks Dom Dwyer, Cyprian Hedrick, Shawn Singh, Stefan Antonijevic and Kyle Miller and several players that were invited to tryout.
Ellis has been the class of that training session but he should be, this is not his first go around. Dwyer has looked better each day, getting faster, more accurate and understanding what he needs to do.
Sporting KC Manager Peter Vermes commented on a few of the players that stood out in the second session, “Dom has some interesting qualities and he’s picking stuff up really quickly. Konrad Warzycha is very solid. Kevin Ellis as well. Cyprian is learning quickly which is a really good thing. Stefan is a very simple player and he never really stands outs but that’s because he really doesn’t make any mistakes and that’s a great quality to have. I like Shawn Singh I like some of the stuff he does. Kyle Miller, I think he is a solid, solid player, he’s good athletically. Cyrus (Saydee, Mich St.) is interesting as well. We will find out if he can handle it physically. Steve Spangler the keeper, he’s got some talent. He really, really does. He’s got some real talent.”
It is likely that 4-6 players will be released before they head to Arizona on Sunday.
Daneil Cyrus left camp to attend to a family issue.
Best Quote of the week:
The strangest and most enigmatic quote of the last few days comes not from training camp but from after the press conference last week. During the press conference, Paulo Nagamura looked a bit bored up on the interview platform.
Question to Paulo: You looked ready to be somewhere else during the press conference?
Paulo’s response: “Yes, I have the Tigers already on my eyes, I’m ready to roll and like I talked twice, I am ready to get started.”