Mastroeni reconnects with Amigos past in Tucson's soccer preseason
Real Salt Lake's Gómez shines in scrimmage
Real Salt Lake Coach Pablo Mastroeni first stepped on a soccer field in Tucson not as a coach and not as a MLS player doing preseason training, but as a player for the Tucson Amigos, Tucson’s team in the old Premiere Development League, now known as USL League 2.
Mastroeni played for the team for several summers in the late 1990s while on break from North Carolina State and developed a relationship with the team’s coach, local soccer legend Wolfgang Weber.
Mastroeni saw Weber sitting in the stands during Saturday’s Chicago - Colorado Springs match and watched an entire half with him.
“I remember little moments where he pulled me aside, put his arm around me and talked to me about the little decisions that I was making in the game,” he said. “As a coach now, I try to emulate those same things. It’s about the care. It’s about genuinely giving yourself to help the next generation of players.”
“Anytime I see an old coach that I had when I was a younger player, I always like to share with them how important they were to my development of my career and how important it was that they cared about that,” he added.
'Dynamic' new player for RSL
Tuesday afternoon, Real Salt Lake managed a 5 - 0 drubbing of lower-division opponents El Paso Locomotive in a closed-door scrimmage at Kino North Stadium.
Although he got some minutes against Sacramento last week, the match was the first full run-out for Carlos Andrés Gómez, a Colombian winger acquired from storied club Millionarios FC last month. Gómez notched two goals and an assist and impressed coach Pablo Mastroeni.
“He’s a very dynamic player,” he said of the Colombian that has played on both the right and the left. “He loves to run without the ball, which is very important to the way we want to play. Today you saw some really calm finishing…I’m really excited about him.”
Gómez scored 12 goals in all competitions in 2021 and 2022 and his performance at the Copa Colombia earned him the golden boot as his team won the trophy.
Preseason action in Tucson concludes on Saturday with a match between Mastroeni’s Real Salt Lake and Chicago Fire FC. The match kicks off at 11 a.m. at Kino North Stadium.