San Jose Earthquakes
San Jose Earthquakes

Quakes notes: Back to work

The Earthquakes returned to training on Saturday morning after having their first off-day of the trip in Florida. Head coach Dominic Kinnear put the team through a morning workout that included a warm-up, 5v2s and a 6v6 tournament. Kinnear split the team into four teams of six (Blue, Gray, Orange and Yellow). Assistant coach John Doyle had to play on one of the teams to even out the numbers.

Blue - Roger Levesque, Wade Barrett, Danny O'Rourke, Ryan Cochrane, Eddie Robinson, Orlando Ramirez
Gray - Brad Davis, Chris Wondolowski, Antou Jallow, Wes Hart, Craig Waibel, Alejandro Moreno
Orange - Victor "Boomer" Arbelaez, Brian Mullan, Chris Aloisi, Kevin Goldthwaite, Brian Ching
Yellow - Brett Rodriguez, Ricardo Clark, Tighe Dombrowski, Troy Dayak, Ian Russell, Ronald Cerritos

The Blue team won the round robin tournament, posting a 2-0-1 record with Roger Levesque netting a key goal in the final seconds to give them a key victory in their second match. Orange finished second, followed by the Yellow team in third and the Gray team in last place.

In the afternoon, the team returned to the practice field to do some tactical work, with the coaching staff focusing on team shape. At the end of the session, players played soccer tennis and worked out on their own.

Looking Ahead
The Quakes take on the Kansas City Wizards on Sunday at 3:00 p.m. ET at the IMG Academy in their last scheduled match of the trip. However, the team may fit one more game in on Tuesday or Wednesday prior to departing Florida on Thursday, Feb. 24.

Day Off
The Quakes players used Friday for a number of different activities. Some players relaxed in their rooms, some played video games, while others went to the movies. Ian Russell, Brad Davis, Wes Hart and Eddie Robinson were the most adventuresome of the team, as the four went out on a fishing trip to Ruskin, Fla. The quartet caught flounder, ladyfish jacks, snook and red fish during their trip. The four players caught about 60 fish during their four-hour trip.

"That was the best day of fishing I have ever had, in terms of the quantity that we caught," said Russell, an avid fisherman. "It was totally different from fishing in Seattle where I am from, but it was a lot of fun."

Q&A with Tighe Dombrowski

Quakes midfielder Tighe Dombrowski, a fifth round pick in the 2004 MLS SuperDraft, is back for a second season with the team after singing a contract earlier this week. He was a long shot in camp last season after being a late-round selection, but he earned a spot on the team with his hard-work and strong nose for the game. After appearing in four games as a rookie, Dombrowski looks to try and make an even bigger impact in 2005.

What were your expectations going into training camp in last year?
I just wanted to come in and show the coaches that I belong at this level. I wanted to make an impression and show what I could do and I am glad that I was able to stick on the team and improve.

Do you have different expectations this season now that you have a year under your belt with the team?
This year I have more specific goals for myself. I spent last year proving myself to the coaching staff and the other players, but now I want to take another step. I want to get on the field more and contribute to the success of the team.

Do you feel more comfortable on the team this year?
Definitely, it is a lot easier to play and fit in when you know your teammates and you know how they play. I also know what the coaches are looking for, so I am more relaxed on the field. I think I have a better understanding this year of what the goals are for the team. Last year I was just getting into the team and I didn't know anybody. I just feel a lot more comfortable with everything going on.

Last season, you played both in the midfield and at outside back. Where do you prefer to play?
I will play wherever I am needed. Last year I played a little bit at right back and midfield and that was fine. Having said that, my goal is to play in the midfield and show that I can do the job there.

How do you think that the team has played in the first four preseason games?
I think it is a good sign that every game we have played has been better than the previous one. The results are mixed, but the way we have played has improved game to game. We are moving the ball better and better and I think that everyone has confidence in each other out there. We are improving as a unit and I am looking forward to the games coming up.

Do you think the team is coming together quickly with so many new faces?
Everyone is settling in pretty well. The players from last year are helping guys feel comfortable and we brought in some good new players. Once we start meshing on the field, the chemistry between the players will just keep on growing and growing.

You have six brothers and all of you have played or are playing on the UW-Milwaukee team. Your family has left a big legacy there that is continuing with your brothers now. Talk a little about the Dombrowski brothers.
When we were younger, we had some good games against each other in the neighborhood and we had my brothers' friends getting into the games also. We have similar traits on the field, but we all have our own style on the field. For example, one brother is great in the air, while another one is really smooth on the ball. My strengths are work rate and positioning, but we all just enjoy playing. Also, I am the smallest of the brothers so that wasn't great for me when we were growing up.

Lalas Arrives in Camp
Earthquakes President & General Manager Alexi Lalas arrived in Bradenton late Friday night to spend some time with the team. He and the coaching staff watched the Chicago Fire's game against the U.S. Under-20 national team on Saturday morning prior to the Quakes practice. He will spend the rest of the week with the team.

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