So everyone, how was your Monday? Ours was pretty good.
Yes, 6-foot-5 center back Steven Vitoria is officially a member of your Philadelphia Union. Vitoria was born and raised in Toronto, Canada, but moved to Portugal when he was 18-years-old to advance his professional soccer career.
He’s now 28 and has been with Portuguse powerhouse Benfica for the past 18 months. He gained notoriety during the 2011-12 season when he led Estoril to a Portuguese second-division title. The following year, he helped guide the team to a fifth place finish in Primeira Liga and into Europa League Qualifying. The ensuing offseason he joined Benfica.
Along with the rest of his new teammates, Vitoria and the Union were back on the training grounds Monday morning to jump start their second week in Clearwater, Fla. Following Saturday night’s loss to Jacksonville, the team bus arrived back at hotel shortly after midnight and Jim Curtin gave his team the day off Sunday.
It was a perfect day to recharge the batteries, especially for yours truly.
But first, let’s recap some of the weekend. C.J. Sapong took over our Twitter account on the way to Jacksonville. Fans could directly reach him by using #AskCJ and, as expected, he was a beast. Really, what more would you expect from this guy? Among the litany of questions he answered, he might, just might, have a date circled on his calendar (looking at you, Sporting Kansas City).
And there was also this. We're sorry, Andre Blake.
I'm sure Dre will be out for revenge. Elsewhere, a couple of fun videos you may have missed over the weekend included some behind the scenes shots from Media Day. Maurice Edu is in the middle of it, as usual. Jimmy McLaughlin and Antoine Hoppenot had a pretty good time, too. And you saw a snippet of this in last week’s Daily Doop, but here’s some video of Andrew Wenger testing his hand in broadcasting with Zach Pfeffer.
Saturday, the Union lost 3-1 to Armada FC, although I’m sure you already knew that. Yes, we know all of you out there in Doop-land aren’t happy. Guess what – neither are we.
Good news: it’s one preseason game and there are still five more to get it right. The first step in that direction is tomorrow night against Tampa Bay Rowdies, tomorrow, at 6 p.m. at our Spring Training home, Joe DiMaggio Complex.
Preparation for that started today, with the longest single-training session of the preseason so far. After typical fitness and passing work, teams were split up for 4v4, 6v6 and 8v8 games for over an hour. Vitoria spent much of the day with the first team and was teamed up with Ethan White during the 8v8. There were a few other highlights including this goal from Sapong:
The team had a lifting session in the afternoon and will have a relatively quiet day tomorrow morning. It looks like there will be a light run in the morning, and the team will be ready to go against Tampa Bay for a 6 p.m. kickoff. Follow our live updates from Joe DiMaggio Complex.
After Tuesday wraps up, the team's first phase of Spring Training in Clearwater is just about over. The team will have two more training sessions, Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, and will fly back to Philadelphia Thursday afternoon. The guys will get the rest of the weekend off before flying back to Clearwater Monday morning.
A few more things I have to push because, frankly, I just like all of them. Have you tried our spot the ball challenge? I went 0-for-3. The answeres will be revealed tomorrow at 10 a.m. Also, a new mic'd up is out with Curtin, White and Danny Cruz. By far my favorite part is Austin Berry having a little fun with our audio guys:
Contact Philadelphia Union press officer Chris Winkler at firstname.lastname@example.org.