Tuscon, AZ (February 7th, 2018) – The New York Red Bulls opened their 2nd training camp session in Tuscon, AZ, yesterday after a grueling travel day. Despite the compressed preseason schedule, head coach Jesse Marsch has his team focused on the upcoming CONCACAF Champions League matches vs CD Olimpia.
“Now we have to have a real eye on Olimpia. It’s not easy with these parameters, but no excuses. We’ve got to be ready to go,” Marsch said.
To that end, the Red Bulls are pushing harder than before. “The only way to simulate games is to have training that’s all the way,” Marsch continued. “We’re trying to control the loads a little bit physically, and make sure we’re not risking any injuries. But, we’re trying to push the level every day.”
CD Olimpia will have 8 regular season matches in the books before facing RBNY on February 22nd. Marsch and his staff have no illusions about the level of preparations required. Marsch will be spending the week in Tuscon presenting the game plan to the troops. “We know the opponent pretty well. They’re a gifted technical group of players that play hard, run hard and compete.”
New York arrived in Tuscon with a pared-down roster presumably to focus on the players that will actually be called upon in the 2 leg away-home matchup. After one day of training, Marsch is happy with what he’s seen so far.
“I think we’ve brought together enough guys to have a good quality of training every day, but enough bodies so that we can get through games and get through training in a good way and make sure that we are getting the most out of every day,” the coach said of his group.
“Already from today it was a spirited group, I think a group with a lot of energy and talent and excitement about having the level of training raised up a bit. Now it will be my job to try to tack it up a little bit every day so that come two weeks we will be ready.”
The club will travel to Costa Rica to face Olimpia in a closed stadium on February 22nd in the first leg. Historically, MLS clubs traveling to Central America face a unique set of challenges. The coach has his players ready to face those challenges. “Any time you go down to Central America as an MLSer you know you’re going to get their absolute best,” Marsch stated. “That’s what makes the tournament fun and challenging. We have to make sure we understand exactly what that’s going to require.”