Hoping to bounce back following a hard-fought 1-0 defeat to the Seattle Sounders on June 28, D.C. United returned to the RFK training field in preparation for its journey north of the border to face Eastern Conference foe Toronto FC at BMO Field (7 p.m. EST, Comcast SportsNet).
The Black-and-Red began practice with a customary game of 5v2 keep away to get loose, before transitioning to dynamic stretching and an agility drill. The team then moved to a sprinting drill, where the players threw an exercise ball into the air and promptly dashed 20 yards.
In the grueling 90-degree heat, the team kept hydrated and took its first of several water breaks. Shortly after, the players were divided into three groups of seven to work on a passing drill. Each group performed the exercise simultaneously on separate areas of the field. Working in a confined space, the players executed short, quick passes, incorporating several different passing patterns.
As the team continued its passing drill, Goalkeeping Coach Preston Burpo worked with his keepers on short and long-range saves.
Building off the momentum of the first passing drill, the team was divided into two teams, distinguished by yellow and grey pinnies, with three neutral players in blue. Playing on half the length of the pitch, the two teams worked on one and two-touch passes, as the coaches emphasized constant communication to maintain ball possession.
After another water break, the Black-and-Red took turns on an offensive drill involving six players. The group had to make six passes, guiding the ball between dummies, before taking a shot with a keeper in goal. The exercise took half the length of the pitch, and on the other half the remaining players worked on defense and ball denial as trainers passed the ball among one another.
To finish Tuesday’s session, the team separated for an 11v11 intra squad scrimmage, wearing blue pinnies and red jerseys. In two 15-minute halves, the blue team scored the game’s lone goal. Players cooled off with post-workout stretching.