It has not been uncommon, during the Earthquakes pre-season trip to Tucson, to see players out on the training field long after the end of sessions – and Dominic Kinnear believes that could be a sign of good things to come.
“The guys keep staying around!” Kinnear said. “When you see them doing extra after practice, it means either I’m not doing enough or they want more and it’s good to see. We are trying to get them ready for the games, but you can tell they want to improve and work on some aspects of their game.”
Today, the Quakes continue their preparations for the 2016 MLS season with a scrimmage against Kinnear’s former team, the Houston Dynamo.
Despite lifting two MLS cups during an nine-year stint in charge of the Texas club, the coach says there is no extra motivation for victory.
"After the first time we played them since I left it’s just another game for me,” he explained.
"Do I want to beat them? Yes - but not for any more reason than I want to win the game. I’ve got some good relationships over there. Some great friends and some great times. Today is pre-season and then when we face them in the regular season it’s just a conference opponent we’re trying to beat for another three points.”
Kinnear, who will welcome goalkeeper David Bingham back into the fold this weekend following his time with the U.S. Men’s National Team, has also been impressed by the hunger shown in Arizona by his players.
“Pre-season is really important,” he explained, “and the most important thing is for the guys to enjoy themselves and have a good appetite for the game.
"I think our appetite is really good."
Coach Kinnear also revealed that, away from the training pitch, the breakfast table had been his favorite spot during the tour.
"I really enjoy the conversations at breakfast," he explained.
"There’s some good chatter going on - stuff you don’t get everywhere you go. I aways look forward to coming down, having breakfast with some of the guys and the staff and having a good laugh.”