TAMPA – Tampa Bay Rowides Coach Ricky Hill was incredibly proud of the way his side performed in the NASL Spring Season. He echoed something that all of the players have been saying since the Spring Season closed after a comprehensive victory over Ft. Lauderdale. The gaffer provided a couple possible reasons for the team falling just three points short of clinching a spot in the Soccer Bowl, but focused on the team’s home form.
“At times we didn’t capitalize on our home-field advantage for whatever reason,” he explained. “I think at various times we were hurt by individual errors, inexperience in certain positions which cost us. Ultimately with the season as short as it was, when you drop points they become crucial down the line. We didn’t get our first home victory until six games in and that really wasn’t good enough from that perspective.
The 2012 NASL Coach of the Year went on to talk about the team’s performance on the road. The Rowdies enjoyed a record of 4-1-1 (W-T-L), which was the best away record in the league.
“Away from home, our record would support that we were as good as anyone, if not better than most. I was delighted with the overall level of play, but we need to get rid of the individual errors.”
With the Fall Season just around the corner, the Rowdies are now fully healthy. The Spring Season saw many players suffer injuries, but now Hill hopes to have a fully fit during the Fall Season.
“I’m hoping that we can keep this clean bill of health between now until the end of the forthcoming season,” commented Hill. “Our expectation is to always go out and win every game, and that’s just the way we’re built. If we apply ourselves in the manner we always do, and if we have that little bit of luck when necessary and brush up on the individual errors, I think we can look forward to a really positive second half of the season.”
This side is arguably as skillful as last year’s, and has every intention of achieving what last year’s team did. There is a tangible feeling of optimism around training every day and the team is ready to get back on the pitch.
The 2012 NASL Champions will open the Fall Season on the road at Toyota Field against San Antonio on Saturday, August 3. The historic rivalry between the Rowdies and the Cosmos will re-emerge just two weeks into the 2013 NASL Fall Season on Saturday, August 10, with Tampa Bay hosting New York at Al Lang Stadium. To purchase tickets for the home opener, click here.
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