Camp Report: Play, relationships starting to develop

The second week of preseason training camp was a busy week. Midfielder Tony McManus touches on the excitement over the team’s Major League Soccer announcement, the development of team chemistry and reviews the preseason matchup against the New York Red Bulls in his recent Camp Report.
Here is Tony’s latest entry of his Camp Report:
Hello again to all our readers and fans out there. We now enter our third official week of preseason after completing our second week of two-a-days and second preseason match against a Major League Soccer opponent.  
It was an exciting week and became more so when we heard the news that the team would be joining MLS in 2011, but we didn't let that excitement over shadow our preparation for the game against the New York Red Bulls on Friday. The week started off with the addition of our two Swedish meatballs, Johan Claesson and Antou Jallow, and Ryan Pore arriving and joining us in preseason. Week 2 was a good week of hard work through the running and training that Gavin (Wilkinson)and Amos (Magee) had planned for us. Sessions got better as the week progressed and we started to develop better relationships and partnerships with each other over the course of the week as well. There was good competition and even a few heated sessions, which shows how seriously the guys are taking it. The week ended with a game on Friday against the Red Bulls at the University of Portland.
We arrived at the game a couple hours early and with the announcement of the team’s future move to MLS earlier in the day, there was quite a buzz around the area and there were news vans and reporters already set up to cover the game. It was a cool evening and rained lightly throughout the entire game which made it slightly unpleasant, but just something that all the players and fans in attendance had to deal with. The Timbers Army showed up in force and many of the community showed up for this exciting matchup, which really added to the atmosphere. It was great to see such support from the community at an exhibition game and really makes the upcoming season even that more exciting.
The game started right at 7 p.m. The constant rain and bumpy surface made for a bit of adjusting, but after warm ups ended it seemed that most of us had adjusted well. The game went well and the result was a 0-0 draw – a more favorable result than the loss to San Jose the week prior, but was still disappointing when, in my opinion, we could have just as easily won that game. After starting the game a little slow and sluggish, we were able to develop a bit of a rhythm. We had several great scoring opportunities throughout it.
The first half was played at a very fast pace and it was difficult because we were all still recovering from the past two weeks, but we came out in the second half with a fire lit under us. After a couple subs entered the second half we really found our identity and were able to keep possession of the ball, create some great scoring opportunities and continue to develop the relationships with one another. In the end though we were not able to break through and score, but the great thing about it was that we didn't give up any goals thanks to some great saves by Steve Cronin late in the game.
Regardless the final score we achieved a lot through playing such a good team and the result had to be looked at as a success in the end. Evaluating myself personally, I felt slow and sluggish both mentally and physically starting out and was not happy at all with my play in the first half. But in the second half, I seemed to wake up, find some strength and energy and really found my form throughout. Overall I was pleased with my play, but it can and does need to get better throughout the entirety of the game to help ensure that the team is successful in whatever the competition. So now the goal is to play consistently in the upcoming game against the University of Portland. So till next weekend enjoy and take care.
Posted by: Tony McManus