FC Tampa Bay increased its workload on Tuesday with a practice session in the morning at Shimberg followed by conditioning in the afternoon at the Athlete’s Compound at Saddlebrook Resort. After focusing on a tight, short-pass possession game the first week, FC Tampa Bay worked on widening its attack with long balls and strategic runs Tuesday.
Head Coach Ricky Hill took to his now familiar centerfield position directing the players and remaining trialists in passing and finishing drills.
Each drill began with a different set of short passes designed to open up a passing lane to the corner of the field where a FCTB player was making a run. The receiver would then put a long cross, either in the air or on the ground, between the 18-yard box and the six-yard box. Two other players made front and back post runs to finish the cross in the net.
Returning midfielder Pascal Millien commented on the team’s ability to make plays which end in a goal.
“We have to keep working on different aspects of our games,” said Millien. “We need to use the preseason to practice putting them in the back of the net.”
Coach Hill ended practice with a bouncing-shot game that gave players the opportunity to work on one-touch shots in the air.
Midfielder Chad Burt observed that the practice was fairly light and they would later be making up for it at the Athlete’s Compound at Saddlebrook Resort with more fitness testing with Strength and Conditioning coach Jason Riley.
“I have to do the beep test today,” said Burt. “It’s one of the harder tests that measures endurance by seeing how long you can run between two points in increasingly faster intervals.”
Burt said he hoped to make it in 15 seconds, beating out the rest of his team’s average thus far.
Newly signed defensive midfielder Tony McManus will join FCTB preseason training this week.
Defender Yendry Diaz is back on the pitch, lacing up his boots, practicing with the team for the first time since his recent surgery to repair a groin injury he sustained last year.
Midfielder Keith Savage is taking it easy this week because of a right hamstring strain during the University of Tampa game last Saturday. Savage worked on strength training, stretching and rehabilitation alongside injured teammate Jeremy Christie.