The Black-and-Red’s head coach sat down with the media earlier today, with the match with the visiting Orlando City Football Club less than 24 hours away. He discussed what challenges his team will face from the visitors and the ever changing health of his roster.
On health of Fabian Espindola and Markus Halsti for game against Orlando
Fabi’s out, inching along. Markus is good to go, Markus will part of the 18. Markus will be on the bench and I know he’s excited about that, I think the guys are excited for him. He’s fit in on the field, he’s fit in of the field which is sometimes just as important when foreigners come, especially to a team like ours. So American based and he’s fit right in, I think the guys are rooting for him.
On Birnbaum’s availability
Good to go, he’s good to go.
When Birnbaum returns, will he start (Espindola) or be brought along slowly off the bench (like Luis Silva)?
I think centre back is a little bit of a different animal, I would prefer to start him at some point in the near future and get him back up to speed. With a lot of guys, guys are going to come in that are fresh, it’s not that they’re replacing guys who have done poorly. That’s a strange concept for players to get, but we have guys that can do the job and we want to produce 18 players here that are all 90 minutes fit and are capable of putting on good performances for the club over the season.
If current state of health on the team is a boost going forward
I hope it helps, we haven’t really been tested depth wise yet. Maybe early with some of our injuries and suspensions, but it’s still about the team that goes out there and is on the field. They still have to do the job, just because you’re deep doesn’t mean you get results. The guys that are put out there have to make sure their getting the job done. So that’s what this is about, we have the luxury to replace guys with players on the outside that are capable of doing the job but we still have to do it.
On what needs to change from first game against Orlando
We certainly can’t rely on Bill like we did in that game. Kaka in particular had a very good game and I think we allowed him to dictate their rhythm, their outside backs were very good in that game and they put a lot of pressure on us and I give them a lot of credit. What we didn’t do well enough is when we got hold of the ball, make sure we’re either punishing them going the other way for being so aggressive or sustaining possession. We gave a lot of balls back, where now it was another cycle or another attack on their end and then we get tired and then we don’t move for each other. That vicious cycle, so it’s important for us to have a good balance . We punish them on counters and if its not on a counter, have sustained pressure and make them do some work.
Has view of Orlando changed with Molino out and Shea moving from left back to left wing
Their dynamics have changed a little bit with those two out, Molino’s speed is something every team has to adjust for. Brek is still Brek, Brek is still an extremely talented player in this league who is capable of hurting you both in the midfield and wide back. But it certainly does change that. The back that they have, left back they have now has good service and he’s willing to get forward. Their outside, Ramos is a real handful and their very aggressive going down that end. Kaka’s still…amazing, he’s a great player.
On changing lineups and tinkering with player’s minutes with grueling schedule beginning
With the three days in between, I don’t need to, but looking ahead to what we’re going to face. Not only what we’re going to face over the next month in a half but the year, there’s going to be at least one change. There’s going to be a change, at least.