Opening statement: I Thought there were things we did well, completed 600 passes on the day, and it was even distribution over both halves. We were far more effective end of first into the second. Thought Seku (Conneh) and Cory (Burke) were a big influence on the game. We thought they would, but it’s great to see them follow through and have a great performance like that. Also we are walking away from a game where six players made their pro debut. Could’ve won it in the 83rd barring a great defensive play from their right back. It’s only the first week so you can’t be too disappointed but all in all we’re off to a good start.
How has the substitution rule change in USL (from five to three players per game) impacted your strategy before and during games? Good for the league. Dropping to three subs makes it more real. Guys need to be able to play 90 and other guys need to be able to come off the bench and impact the game, and you can’t do that with five. In terms of development it doesn’t help, but there’s different challenges depending on who you play and how to develop guys and I think our staff is up to that challenge.
Differences in types of teams in USL make it harder to find consistency? Vital to growth of players, if it was just a reserve league it loses luster. Part of the challenge is playing a multi-million team like Tampa Bay, and Toronto learned that the hard way. For young players it’s such a great opportunity and I’m really glad they’re playing in this league. Richmond, Rochester and Harrisburg are the nuts and bolts of this league. Fun one this weekend. Good attacking soccer, and they will press you for all 90 minutes.
Cincy too “top heavy”? Thoughts on two of LouCity’s best players moving to FC Cincinnati? What you see when you look at FC Cincinnati’s 27 man roster is that they’re deep with guys who have touched MLS. I wouldn’t say they’re top heavy either. They have guys like Andrew Weidemann, Austin Berry - until he went down recently - and Harrison Delbridge, who has spent time with big clubs in the US. Even once you get past the big names in their attack, they have Victor Mansaray and Djiby Fall, as well as Andy Craven. Any position you look at, and it’s very well designed. Pushed to win from a personnel standpoint, and whether or not they can do that is up to them. They have the roster and the experience within that roster to win the East.
Cory Burke playing right wing was an experiment against Harrisburg during the preseason, is that looking like your preferred set up? Cory has been used at RW for Jamaica before, so he isn’t unfamiliar with the position. We experimented with it basically just trying to find a way to have them both on the field without someone completely out of position. We thought Seku behind Charlie (Davies) worked well, and he’d been there before and with Cory’s experience on the right for Jamaica it was a good fit.
Regarding the first team loans, is there any number that you feel is excessive? No. Not at all. Our primary objective is to support the first team, (and) one of the main ways we do that is giving guys minutes and fitness. There could be weeks like last week, some weeks it might be lighter. We also have priority guys in our system that should be getting primary time here too.
With Tomas Romero gone with El Salvador’s U16s who takes his place in goal?: Looking at Jake McGuire, Matt Freese or another academy kid, we do have a small license to experiment at some positions where we have a lot of depth. I thought Tomas did great given his age and position. No shortage of guys who can make impacts like that all season and we’re very excited to see him play for his country.