By NICHOLAS MURRAY – firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday, February 20, 2016
CASA GRANDE, Ariz. – Arizona United SC faces its first test of the preseason on Saturday as it faces fellow USL club the Swope Park Rangers in the Desert Diamond Cup, hosted by FC Tucson. After a tough opening week of preseason camp, new Head Coach Frank Yallop has been pleased by what he’s seen from his squad.
“The general play is pretty sharp,” Yallop told ArizonaUnited.com's H. Jose Bosch. “There are certain situations we’re giving the ball away a little bit cheaply, but in general each player and collectively we’ve moved the ball quite well and created some good chances in the game we’ve just had, so that’s encouraging. I’ve liked what I’ve seen so far.”
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After a week that was mostly focused on building fitness, United’s players enjoyed the chance to get into a full scrimmage later in the week as they worked on the style of play Yallop is looking to implement for the new season.
“With the tired legs, I thought the intensity was amazing,” midfielder Jose Cuevas said. “The guys here are at a whole new level, it’s very great. We’re still trying to get to know one another, so I think with a couple more training [sessions] and the game coming up it’s going to be big time.”
“As a group I think we’ve been waiting for this moment to get out on the field and actually go to goal,” added defender Brock Granger. “I think there’s a lot of good things out there. Six sessions in 24 hours is pretty grueling, so it was nice to get out and play.”
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The Rangers took a 3-1 win against the Colorado Rapids in their first contest in Tucson on Wednesday, and with a squad that includes a number of USL veterans should provide a good gauge as to where United stands early in preseason. Yallop, though, is happy with what he’s seen from his squad so far.“The attitude of the guys has been fantastic,” he said. “I’ve been really impressed with the willingness to work hard, and listen and learn, and get a style of play that we’re trying to work on right now.”