Jesse Marsch: “We have to have an urgency to preseason. We have to have a commitment to make sure we squeeze as much out of every day as possible.” (FrontRowSoccer.com Photo)

By Michael Lewis

FrontRowSoccer.com Editor

If there was anything that head coach Jesse Marsch learned about his Red Bulls’ elimination from the CONCACAF Champions League last year, it was the team’s match fitness.

Actually, the lack of it.

“We were not fit enough,” he said. “I told the team at the end when we lost to Vancouver, we didn’t lose the series that day, we lost in in December.”

New York was eliminated by Vancouver Whitecaps FC in the quarterfinals.

The Red Bulls kick off this year’s competition against Olimpia in Honduras Feb. 22 and hosting their foes at Red Bull Arena March 1.

“I expect our group to come in very fit and ready to go,” Marsch said at last week’s MLS SuperDraft in Philadelphia. “We have to have an urgency to preseason. We have to have a commitment to make sure we squeeze as much out of every day as possible. … To playing early in the year, we will have to be prepared. But I know our group learned from last year and I think it’ll help prepare us more for this year.”

Asked whether he would change his training regimen in preseason camp in Florida, Marsch replied, “We’ll have to assess that quickly and see exactly where we’re at.”

He added there was a big group of players at the team’s training facility in Hanover, N.J. playing 11 v 11.

“A lot of the guys are pushing really hard for at least a month and we’re hopeful to see if they’re really ready to go,” Marsch said. “And if they are, then that can accelerate their progress, that’s for sure.”