Sporting Kansas City spent the unusually cold morning putting in a long training session. Here are a few of my observations.
• New defender Aurelien Collin put in a lot of work with Matt Besler today. With Julio Cesar suspended due to his red card (and I'm hearing his ITC card has come in), there's a very strong possibility that Collin could jump from the training ground to the Starting XI immediately. Though, I wouldn't be totally shocked if Shavar Thomas saw action this weekend. (Stay tuned.)
• While I've read that Collin can play rightback (he does in FIFA '11 for Vitoria Setubal), he'll be a centerback in the MLS. Bank it.
• Ryan Smith is going to be on the bench this week, I'm fairly certain. He put in a lot of work today and it was again on the right-hand side.
• Probably as a result of the blanket Columbus threw over KC's offense last week, the majority of training was spent working on creating chances from possession. Primarily, Peter Vermes had the team run through drills that saw three attackers charge against four defenders (stressing organization and pressing for the defenders, possession and combination for the attackers) and then, later, four attackers (with Teal Bunbury as a target player) versus six defenders (two midfielders joining in).
The most vocal three defenders: Matt Besler, Collin and Jimmy Nielsen. Nielsen is one of the loudest yellers I've ever heard. The best opportunities for the attackers came from Smith and Kamara.
• There are two unnamed goalkeepers with the team, but I don't expect either of them are much more than just training depth while Jon Kempin is with the U.S. Men's U-18 team. (Kempin, BTW, started for the U-18s against the Portland Timber reserves today. Portland won the game 4-1.)
• Leo Gibson and Byron Alvarez, who play with the Missouri Comets of the Major Indoor Soccer League, are training with the team. (I'm not sure if they are actually trying out or not.) Alvarez saw action in Kansas City's first reserve-team game last week in Houston.
• There is another trialist (this is Trialist #13 or so if you're scoring at home). He's played for an MLS team, he's from the area and played high school soccer here. (Guesses?)
• Sporting KC's injury report: OUT: FW Konrad Warzycha (R knee surgery); FW Omar Bravo (sports hernia); MF Luke Sassano (L ankle sprain); PROBABLE: DF Chance Myers (L adductor strain); MF Ryan Smith (L knee inflamation); DF Matt Besler (L knee contusion).
Warzycha and Bravo are the only long-term injuries; Sassano did not participate in soccer drills today. Myers, Smith and Besler did train and will likely travel with the team to New England.
• Non-training news! New England won the Benny Feilhaber sweepstakes yesterday and it appears the team will keep him after rejecting trade advances from Houston. Will Benny suit up against KC this weekend?