Behind the badge: Aloha!
HONOLULU - D.C. United descended upon the Hawaiian island of Oahu yesterday evening after reporting to Dulles airport at 5:30 a.m. ET and enduring two six-hour flights. Despite the lengthy travel schedule, the energy level was surprisingly high upon their arrival on the island known as "the gathering place." Once the group was greeted at the airport with leis by an enthusiastic group of Hawaiian Soccer Federation volunteers, the Black-and-Red were anxious to get back to work ... and work they did.
The defending MLS Cup Champions began the second of three preseason training camps with two sessions Tuesday under clear skies and high temperatures at the University of Hawaii campus. Before large groups of soccer fans and students, United diligently participated in a host of possession-based drills and games. Head coach Peter Nowak's demanding schedule of a morning jog and two-a-day training sessions will continue Wednesday, despite the team's tourist-laden headquarters at the Outrigger Waikiki.
United's trip to Honolulu has caused quite a stir. The club will be on the island for a week of training before playing the Los Angeles Galaxy in an exhibition match at Aloha Stadium on Saturday night. Throughout the week, members of the organization will also participate in a host of promotional activities in support of this weekend's game. Organized by the Hawaiian Soccer Federation, the Aloha Cup has sold more than 10,000 advance tickets and organizers are hoping for a crowd of twice that number.