First of all, let's just get the newsy bits out of the way: Everyone was present and accounted for at Minnesota United FC practice Wednesday.
Both defender Vadim Demidov (illness) and Abu Danladi (hamstring) were back at practice, though Danladi did train separately on the sidelines. Midfielder Bernardo Anor (disabled list with a leg injury) and defender Thomas de Villardi (season-ending Achilles injury) were also in house working on their recovery.
Now let's get to the fun stuff. I talked to defender Brent Kallman a bit after practice about just how hard United practices are, since both new additions Sam Cronin and Marc Burch remarked on that Tuesday.
Heath also mentioned Tuesday how he has deliberately ramped up the physical aspect of the Tuesday and Wednesday sessions as the season has progressed while making the Thursday and Friday ones lighter and more on the tactical side.
Just from my viewing of practice, United does a big chunk of it in a rotation. So the squad will split up into three groups. Two groups will play each other in a mini-match while the other group runs sprints. Then they rotate through after so many minutes until each group has ran once and played twice.
"The Tuesdays and Wednesdays have definitely been really difficult the last two weeks," Kallman said. "But apparently, they look at the numbers because we wear the GPS in the games, and our output on the weekends has been going up. So maybe there's something to pushing us harder earlier in the week and then tapering off later. It's mentally a little difficult for the players. You've got to be ready to come in and work your tail off if you're still a little tired or whatever."
Kallman said specifically the previous two Tuesday practices have been "very, very difficult." But as long as the players take the proper time to recover afterward with more stretching, rolling out, hydration and sleep, it's no problem.
Especially for Kallman, who currently weighs about 187 pounds, three pounds lighter than what he is listed at on the roster.
"I'm actually the lightest I've been since I was, like, 18 years old," Kallman, age 26, said. "It's like the first time I've been below 190 in a while. So I feel really good right now."
Also of note, United's Saturday opponent, FC Dallas, lost a heartbreaker on a stoppage time goal in the CONCACAF Champions League semifinals Tuesday night in Mexico and will not advance to the final.