Day #3 in Porto, Portugal!
Porto was worth the trip!
It was an early start for the boys and supporters with a 7am breakfast meeting so we could be on the road for Porto as early as 7:30am. The two hour bus ride to Porto was spent with stories told, songs sung and Mafia games played. Upon arrival at 10:05am we were greeted by Sergio who is the President of the club de Cortegaca. The name of the facility that they use for training is Futpark which has two 11v11 regulation size fields, two 5 a side fields and one training area with skill challenges. Behind these fields was an indoor building for the colder months in the winter time. It is an ideal setup for their Academy and training schedule.
The second game of the tour would be another tough challenge for the boys as they played against another 2004 team that was more technical and organized than yesterdays group. The patience of the other team, the confidence of the players individually and the organization of the group was a challenge to keep up for the full game. The first half ended 0-0 with a few chances created from us on the counter but the most impressive performance of the boys so far is their defensive effort. The second half continued to be controlled by Cortegaca in terms of possession but not many clear chances created until about 15 minutes left in the 2nd half. Once they broke the tie it was difficult to stop the second one from coming in a short period time psychologically as well as making changes. We went for it after taking the first goal with some position changes to create more pressure higher up the field and cause an error closer to their goal. This only resulted in more space behind us for the team to attack and punish two more times ending the game 0-3. The respect that not only the trainers but players showed our boys after the game was great and welcoming. The coaches had some nice words to say about our team as a whole and some top individual player performances. I continue to express my satisfaction with the boys effort, attitude and approach to these challenges. It is another experience that makes them stronger when facing adversity and humbling them in the realization that more work needs to be done individually and as a group going into the new season.
With the game being played early, the rest of the day was planned out for a pizza lunch and a trip to the Douro River in Porto. The entertainment of street performers, the views and architecture was an impressive site to see. The time we spent in Porto was nowhere near enough to see all that this beautiful city has to off, however the short time that we were there this afternoon left a long lasting impression on many of the newcomers to Portugal. One of the more impressive sights was the view from a large bridge that extends across the river connecting you to both sides. There are two far apart heights to the bridge that you can walk across and even catch the sight of young teenagers bridge jumping into the river! After taking pictures and videos of all that we could we made our way back to the bus to begin our return back to the hotel and dinner. We finished off the day with a nice dinner across from the hotel at a buffet style restaurant called A Grelha. On tomorrow’s agenda we have a visit to the famous beach of Nazare’, an open training session viewing of Leiria’s first team and a game at night against Marrazes!
Should be a good one!