Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Insight into RSL U18 Team in Spain

Here is some additional insight into RSL's U18 entry into the Madrid tournament. Answers come courtesy of Elliot Fall from RSL's PR Department. Elliot is in Madrid with the team:

KIR: Did any players in particular stand out for RSL?

EF: I would say that it was an impressive overall team effort, though D’Arrigo (GK) made some spectacular saves (one point blank in the second half that really saved the result), Mwanga created some really good chances, and Marshall and Toia sparked play on the outsides when they came on the second half.

KIR: Was the draw an appropriate result? Did the teams seem to play at an equal level?

EF: I honestly felt it was a pretty fair result. Partizan probably had a few more real chances, but after their goal I thought we were certainly the better side. You could really see Partizan’s quality, but we had some really good stretches as well. All-in-all, Partizan is probably a more talented side, but our guys really play well as a team.

KIR: Did you see enough to know what RSL's strength's are? Weaknesses?

EF: Obviously it was only one game, but I think I could see a few of the team’s strengths and weaknesses. We have a ton of pace and a handful of guys who are really comfortable running at defenders. Much like many American teams we’re really fit as well. Partizan had multiple guys going down with cramps in the second half (probably contributing to our ability to really put them on their heels then.) Finally, I would say that these guys have something special as a team. They really have great chemistry and truly fight for each other out there, a quality that can’t be overlooked. As for weaknesses, it’s a little tougher to tell so quickly, but I think what will be toughest here is simply that they aren’t accustomed to playing at this level on a daily basis. Whereas all of the opponents play matches like this daily. Compared to Partizan we were certainly outsized as well. They were huge...

KIR: Did you see any of the other matches? Any assessment of River Plate (is this the same as Rayo Vallecano) and Espanyol?

EF: We stuck around and watched the first half of the Espanyol vs. Rayo Vallecano (River Plate pulled out and were replaced by Vallecano – they’re a Spanish team in the second division I believe) match. Both teams had some quality, talented players, but the overriding opinion in our bus was that our guys can definitely play with them. Speaking to people around the tournament, Partizan is generally consider the most talented squad we’ll face and one of the tourney favorites. Both Espanyol and Rayo were more similar to our guys physically, so the pace may be a bit higher overall the rest of the way...