Friday, November 30, 2007

The Galaxy Hit Wellington

It's been a long couple of days here in Wellington but the team is ready for tomorrow night's game against the Phoenix.

After arriving in New Zealand on Friday afternoon, the club was welcomed by a traditional Maori welcome at the airport where more than 1,000 fans came out to greet us and were sure to let their voices be heard.

The players were given the night off and most wandered around the city center, stopping along the way for some dinner.

It was back to business on Friday with a morning training session at Westpac Stadium, the site of tomorrow night's game. The session was opened to the public and more than 15,000 fans turned out to see the players train. Many of the 15,000 were school children, with many of the schools in Wellington busing the children to the stadium and giving them some time away from the classroom.

However, the massive crowd did turn slightly problematic as the players were originally scheduled to perform the dreaded Beep Test, a famous method of assessing players' fitness that is used throughout the soccer universe, but with the crowd there, it became difficult to hear the audio and the experiment had to be cancelled for now.

That left the players to play some extended games of possession before wrapping up the session with a small-sided game and some shooting drills. Once again, practice ended with the 'keepers calling out how many shots that they would save out of 11 with both Steve and Lance coming out victorious. But the shooters got their revenge in the final round against Joe scoring six times, including four of which went in off the post, leaving Joe no chance, much to the humor of everybody...except #1 that is.

Later on that night the players were honored at halftime of the Phoenix's 2-1 loss to Adelaide. The match featured two former MLS players with Diego Walsh, formerly of Columbus and Kansas City, playing for the visitors and former Revolution defender Tony Lochead playing in the back for Wellington.

After coming out onto the field to the delight of the record crowd, all of the players and coaches were given traditional New Zealand necklaces before returning to the hotel.

More to come later.

1 comment:

robb.watson said...

Todays training session was nuts, I ended up leaving shortly after because the squealing was getting to me haha so basically took some videos for the LA Riot Squad board and left. Match today was awesome, shame about the result. One of the girls in my section was screaming "MARRY ME BECKHAM!" and borrowed my half-Phoenix-half-Galaxy scarf and held it up with me, Galaxy side out. Looking forward to tommorow, hoping for a Phoenix victory!