Looking to bounce back following a 1-0 defeat away from home to the Houston Dynamo, which snapped the team’s four-game win streak, D.C. United returned to the RFK training field to begin preparation for the next road trip to Real Salt Lake (Saturday, Aug. 9, 10 p.m. EST, Comcast SportsNet). Starters from the Dynamo game had a rest day while the remainder of the team suited up. Collin Martin said the club’s loss to Houston was an opportunity for himself and his teammates to learn.
“We didn’t catch the breaks we wanted,” Martin said. “We have another game coming up soon, so we learn from our mistakes quickly.”
Practice began with a game of 5v2 keep away, helping the players get loose before transitioning to dynamic stretching. After, the team split into three groups of three, working on a passing drill within a 20-yard space. While two groups passed the ball amongst one another, maintaining possession, the third team applied ball pressure, hoping to capitalize on a loose ball. The three teams switched roles following each loss of possession.
After working on a separate shot-stopping drill with Goalkeeping Coach Preston Burpo, the goalkeepers joined the rest of the team for a 6v6 scrimmage on half the length of the pitch. Separated by yellow pinnies and black jerseys, the teams played four three-minute games. Over the span of four games, the yellow team outscored the black team, 7-5.
Martin said coaches emphasized fast reaction times.
“If you lose [the ball], whatever you do, just quick reactions and get ready for the next play,” he said.
With the match finished, the players lined up for a shooting drill, working on shots in stride from either side of the net.
While players stretched and cooled down in the middle of the field, coaches concluded training by taking shots on goal before moving on to a light-hearted crossbar challenge.