With its first road match just three days away, FC Tampa Bay decided to split up the squad Wednesday morning.
Head coach Ricky Hill took a group of players, including several trialists, to IMG Academies in Bradenton for a scrimmage against the US-17 MNT. At the same time, assistant coach David Hayes led a practice session with the remaining players at Shimberg practice fields.
In Bradenton, the group of FCTB players posted a 3-1 victory, with two goals from forward Matt Clare and one from forward Warren Ukah.
“It’s always vital to get guys that haven’t been playing minutes so the US provided us with a game against the U-17’s and we took it," said Hayes. "In the meantime the guys that have been playing a lot stayed here and we practiced for about 90 minutes. We did a little bit of fitness and some small sided games. For these guys back in Tampa it was good to take a breather mentally and physically, and for the other guys that haven’t played it gave them some valuable minutes.”
FC Tampa Bay heads to Saputo Stadium for a 2:30 p.m. match this Saturday, April 23 against Montreal. The two teams met in the season opener on Saturday, April 9 at Al Lang Stadium, with FCTB prevailing 1-0 on a goal in the 85th minute by M Takuya Yamada.
"Going to Montreal is always a tough environment. The stadium is beautiful and the fans come out in mass numbers so for them they are going to go off of emotion," said Hayes. "It is going to be tough so we just have to stick in for the first 15-20 minutes and then play our own game.”