FC Tampa Bay returned to practice Tuesday morning at Shimberg Fields to work on fundamental skills on the ball.
Looking back to Saturday’s match against Carolina, head coach Ricky Hill was pleased with the performance of Kwame Watson-Siriboe, who arrived in Tampa Bay less than 48 hours before the match and played all 90 minutes in his FCTB debut.
“I am very happy overall with the general play of the entire defense,” said Hill. “I believe we nullified Carolina to a minimum opposition. Takuya Yamada was tremendous on defense and Kwame had a very comprehensive debut.”
Forward Keith Savage recognizes the strength of the FC Tampa Bay defense and hopes the stability on the back line will extend to the offense as well.
“The other teams have capitalized on our weaknesses and we have not been able to capitalize on theirs yet,” said Savage. “Coach says that if we work hard, we make our own luck and we hope it will start coming through on the attacking end.”
Hill said preparation is key to get ready for this Sunday’s match against Atlanta.
“My focus will be to prepare the team to approach the game against Atlanta with the same purpose as they did against Carolina,” said Hill, “It is akin to a Cup final: three points are at stake and our goal is to achieve all of them.”
The team began Tuesday’s practice with a rotational drill that incorporated agility, coordination, long and short passing, crossing and finishing.
Moving onto a shooting exercise, the team focused on one-touch shots while remaining conscious of staying onsides.
Standing about 25 yards out, with his back to the goal, Hill directed two players at a time. At his call, Hill would receive a pass and then send the ball to one player while the second player would wait opposite of Hill until the pass was played into space in front of the net. The second player would then attack the ball and take a one-touch shot on alternating goalies Jeff Attinella and Evan Newton.
FC Tampa Bay returns to action this Sunday night, June 12, when it hosts the Atlanta Silverbacks at 6:00 p.m. ET at Al Lang Stadium. For tickets, call (813) 287-1539 or click here.
FC Tampa Bay received some good news on the injury front on Tuesday.
Midfielder Chad Burt has been upgraded to day-to-day with a foot injury and may return to the pitch sooner than expected.
Defender Andres Arango practiced for the second straight day on Tuesday morning as he continues to work his way back from a thigh contusion.
Defender JP Rodrigues underwent successful arthroscopic knee surgery on Tuesday morning and will start rehabbing immediately. Rodrigues is hopeful to return sometime in June.
The Atlanta Silverbacks are in eighth places in the North American Soccer League standings with only two points out of nine matches played this season. With a record of 0-2-7 (W-T-L), the Silverbacks have allowed 15 goals, the most in the league so far. Atlanta’s three goals have come from forward Matt Horth, and defenders Willie Hunt and Mario Perez. Goalkeeper Felipe Quintero has the sixth-most saves in the league with 25. The Silverbacks take on the Montreal Impact on Wednesday night at home before Sunday night’s match in St. Petersburg.