The team held its final training session at Estadio Olimpic before tomorrow's match against CD Marathon (Fox Soccer Channel, 10 p.m. ET). Tom Soehn and his staff ran the team through a long warm-up and then some possession and finishing drills. The field looks pretty decent, though the grass is exceptionally thick.
Tomorrow, the guys will prepare by watching the second half of last week's Marathon-Cruz Azul match - after watching the first half today.
I've added a few photos from tonight's training session to the Video & Pics page and here are some quotes from Soehn, Clyde Simms and Louis Crayton...
D.C. United Head Coach Tom Soehn
On tonight’s training session and facing Marathon
Well, you know the field is in great shape. I think given our [past] experience with Honduras this is probably the best field we’ve played on. We know Marathon is a good side and it’s going to be a very competitive match, so we’re excited about the opportunity of playing a good team.
On what the team’s plan is to stop Marathon’s speed
Well, we’ve watched them and studied them and we obviously have a game plan coming into the game, but that’s obviously for us and we’re not going to share that.
On whether or not there is any one player they need to focus on
I think they do a good job on counterattacks and whoever the guys are on the counterattack they add to their strengths. So, it’s not necessarily one, but understanding how they play.
On whether or not they’ve forgotten the Galaxy game
In this business you have to forget and I think the excitement of coming out and rectifying a bad result is always on the players’ mind, so of course we’ll be ready.
D.C. United midfielder Clyde Simms
On the team’s preparations
We haven’t really done much coming off the LA game so we just wanted to get some touches – obviously, it’s a different ball that we play with – so, we need to get used to the ball again and get the flight, the long trip out of our system and get mentally prepared for tomorrow.
On playing with so many players out
We’re going to have to change our mentality even more and we know we’re on the road and of course we’ll be missing some guys and we might even have to change the formation and really sit in and let the game come to us and make them break us down.
On the team’s mentality of playing on the road
I think it’s something that we need to work on, especially here recently, but I think we’ve really concentrated on it coming into the game tomorrow. Basically, we need to have our defensive line not start as high as we do at home and really try and make the team play through us. When you’re on the road you want your offense to be more of a counterattack.
D.C. United goalkeeper Louis Crayton
On the game and preparations
Well, first of all we watched the first half of the game that Marathon played against Cruz Azul and they had a very good game and they have a lot of fast players on the team. Having seen their game and knowing the way they play, I think the coaches are prepared with a strategy that we will go out there tomorrow to at least leave this place with a point and to be able to bounce back from all of our difficulties over the last few games.
On the team’s approach on the road
I think we know it’s going to be very crucial to perform well individually, as well as collectively, and I’ve spoken to some players on the team knowing what we ought to do out there tomorrow. Like I said, what we need to do is at least get a point out of here which will help us to be able to come back in the Champions League and to rebuild our morale coming into our game against FC Dallas.
On playing without Devon McTavish
Well, I mean I’ve been around the club and the team for some time now and I’ve played with every player. Devon being out is a big hit for us, but I believe anyone who is going to play before me tomorrow is aware of his responsibility. We’re just going to work together collectively as a team and see how we can pull out a positive result tomorrow.