Agudelo, Gatt draw injury concerns as friendlies near for senior, U-23 teams

Agudelo, Gatt draw injury concerns as friendlies near for senior, U-23 teams

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Agudelo, Gatt draw injury concerns as friendlies near for senior, U-23 teams

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By ADAM SERRANO

CARSON, Calif. — It appears that injury bug has hit the U.S. January camp, and that may render two key players for the senior team and Under-23 side doubtful for upcoming friendlies. 

U-23 right winger Josh Gatt was unavailable for training on Monday after suffering an apparent ankle injury on Sunday evening. The injury came without contact when the winger from Norwegian club Molde seemingly popped his ankle after attempting to turn for the ball. Gatt initially attempted to return to the field but chose to leave training just moments later.

Meanwhile, 19-year-old New York Red Bulls forward Juan Agudelo, who is currently with the senior team, once again missed practice due to a sprained right ankle, which he hurt during last Friday's scrimmage against the U-23s. The severity of Agudelo's injury was not yet disclosed.

Following Tuesday's scrimmage against the senior squad, the U-23s will promptly head to Costa Rica for matches against the Deportivo Saprissa reserves on Jan. 21 and Alajuelense on Jan. 24. The senior team will remain at the Home Depot Center for a couple of days to train before departing for Phoenix for a friendly against Venezuela on Jan. 21, followed by a trip to Central America to face Panama on Jan. 25.

More news and observations from January camp are after the jump: 

Both teams trained simultaneously on Monday on adjacent fields on the Home Depot Center complex. In addition to training alongside one another, both teams ran similar drills and also maintained the same 4-3-3 formation during intra-squad scrimmages.

One particular drill caught the attention of many observers. The drill involved two teams of nine shooting at a full-sized goal as well as a smaller goal off to the corner. With two goals to defend, the defense was forced to maintain its shape in order to defend against attackers eager to loop in dangerous crosses. 

"We were trying to move and shift as a unit, the reason that we put in small goals was that we don't just condense the middle, but when the ball is on one side of the field, we condense that side so essentially the opponent can't make an easy cross," said defender Heath Pearce. "So what we did was get numbers over and shift so that everyone was on the same page.

"It's a good transition game, it makes you have to think and although It makes the field big, but it makes you move as a unit which at the international level is something that you have to depend on," Pearce added. "Because when you play on the big stadiums where it is loud, then you can't always hear everything so you need to be on the same page even without talking."

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Joe Corona foreshadowed potential positional changes for the Under-23 squad in Tuesday's scrimmage against the senior national team. Corona would not divulge where he would be playing, but he admitted that he is heading into the match with "little experience" at that position. 

Stuart Holden took in training on Monday evening, the Bolton midfielder is currently in Southern California as he continues his rehabilitation from a knee injury. Holden — who appeared at MLS Cup on crutches — was walking on his own without any assistance. 

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