Ben Olsen at training - 2014

D.C. United continued preparations for it’s crucial Saturday afternoon game against the New York Red Bulls (2:35 pm ET), which will indeed determine which Eastern Conference team moves on to the Conference Finals (buy tickets here). Luis Silva, who has been rehabbing a hamstring injury, practiced fully again with the team.

Jeff Parke and Conor Doyle were back at the training field today, who have both been sidelined since early August with season-ending injuries. Parke underwent outpatient surgery on his left inner ear to address a peri lymphatic fistula on August 14, while Doyle underwent a successful right knee meniscus repair on August 4.  Both players remained on the sidelines doing ball work and working on regaining their fitness and strength.

As usual, the Black-and-Red began practice with an animated game of 5v2 to build momentum, before moving into dynamic stretching. Then, the guys ran an agility drill, in which the team was separated into two lines, and had to perform quick rhythmic steps through a line of blue practice cones before being passed a ball to volley back to the server.

Once the players were loose, the squad spread out along roughly half the length of the practice pitch to work on passing. With the purpose of the drill being to get everyone touches, the players demonstrated high energy and quick movement while executing ground-level one-touch give-and-go passes. The exercise was followed by the first of many water breaks on the day.

Afterwards, the players divided into two groups of six to run yet another fast-paced passing drill. The guys distinguished themselves with blue and yellow pinnies, leaving recovering Luis Silva and Lewis Neal as the neutral players in grey. The objective was to complete four consecutive passes for a goal. Silva and Neal aided whichever team had possession.

To finish training, the neutral players and the ‘keepers joined a side, allowing for a customary game of 7v7 to goal. Confined to half the length of the pitch, goalkeeper Joe Willis was in one net for yellow and goalkeeper Bill Hamid was in the other for blue. After four games with five-minute halves, the blue side ultimately prevailed, outscoring its opponent 3-0. For the blue team, Samuel Inkoom and Collin Martin looked sharp, netting a brace and a goal off service from Sean Franklin and Chris Rolfe, respectively. After the games, the group cooled down with post-workout stretching. 

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<p class="affiliate">Training Notes presented by <a class="red" href="">Orthopaedic Center</a>.</p>