FC CIncinnati manager Jaap Stam and Winger Alvaro Barreal met with media Friday. The expectation was to talk mostly about the club‘s final preseason friendly on Saturday. That was before reports started to surface of disgruntled player Frankie Amaya being traded to New York Red Bulls. While Barreal spoke about bonding with teammates, Stam fielded questions on a more serious matter.
On what he would like to see in the club‘s final preseason friendly against the Pittsburgh River Hounds.
"What we would like to see is how the players are feeling, if their fitness is good. Are they able to play 90 mins with the same intensity. Of course also what we´ve been working on, in possession, out of possession. Also, the things that we´ve been working on, can we implement those from the start? or do we need more time?“
On reports of Frankie Amaya‘s reported trade and on managing players that are coming on going during a preseason.
”You're always looking for the team to make some progress in whast we are trying to acheive. Youre doing that are available and with players that leaving and players that are joining the time. You want to make them aware of what weŕe doing that as quickly as we can, so everything comes very easy for them so they can produce straight away. Sometimes that takes time.“
Coach Stam then spoke, without naming any names, about the Frankie Amaya situation.
”Sometimes certain players are in a certain situation, for us the most important thing is to just work, with the players are are on the pitch that are available and prepare ourselves that best way we can.”
On how Yuya Kubo has been fitting in at the No. 8 midfielder spot, a new position for him. and whether that is move made from neccesity.
”It’s been something that I've been thinking about for a long time. Yuya has been doing very well for us this preseason. he‘s comfortable in what he‘s doing and what I’m asking from him. He can deliver in this role. It’s a very positive change. I’m very confident in the ability that Yuya has that he can produce in this league at what we‘re asking of him. It’s a good decision to try him in this position because we know what he can bring.”
On Frankie Amaya‘s complaints about the club‘s commitment to him, and on how to deal with that situation.
”The only thing is of course, you never know what happens and who´s talking to him and bringing him in to certain situations.“
Jaap having the perspective of being a player before becoming a manager, and after a deep sigh, he had this to say.
”You talk about that, you speak with the player, you speak with the club. Everybody knows his situation. He played a lot of games for us last season, I had belief in him thats why. He made progress as well as a player, you help him out, and thats what helps him become a better player.“
Stam made his interesting comment on whether Amaya has someone in his ear.
”The only thing is of course, you never know what happens and who´s talking to him and bringing him in to certain situations. For us it´s been very important for us to handle this situation, the club has been doing well towards him. They´ve helped him out in everything possible.”
On the addition of new center back Gustavo Vallecilla, and how he views the back line depth now.
”We´re making progress there. With Matarrita coming in, Joe Gyau playing a new position which he´s doing very well. We´ve got Nick (Hagglund), Tom (Pettersson) and Maikel (Van der Werff.)”
“Maikel´s injured, so we doing know when he´s going to be back. We added Gustavo but we need to add another one. It´s very important that we have more depth at that position (center back). Last year we needed to play every player on the roster. That‘ s why you need to have good depth within your roster. So it´s good that we have one more coming in with Gustavo, but we´re still looking.”
On if he is ready for the regular season with this team as it is.
“I’m ready for the regular season. There‘s still always a couple of choices that i want to make, and that takes time, but im ready. The preseason has been going well, the work rate, the intensity and how we‘ve played our games.“
He spoke about the increase in the club‘s attacking abitly shown this preseason.
”We‘ve created a lot, that‘s the most positive thing about these games. A very positive thing was the intensity we showed. So I‘m looking forward to the start of the season and the players are as well.”
On how he views the goalkeeper competition and if new addition Cody Cropper is pushing Tyton for the starting position.
”Cody is an experienced goalkeeper as well, we brought him in because we liked what we‘ve seen of him. In every preseason there‘s that competition at every position in the roster, because the players have to show that they deserve to start. That‘s the same with the goalkeepers, but Cody came in and he‘s being doing well and pushing Tyton as well. We can still make chioces for the four keepers, it‘s up to them to show who deserves it the most.“
On how Luciano Acosta´s expirience is helping the team, and if he is taking on a leadership role.
”Lucho is a player with experience, although he‘s not very old of course. He‘s played in MLS before, he knows the league. He is helping the other players as well, with new players like Brenner. He combines with him very well, but you can also see it with the other players. He's bringing the extra dimension with the team, that we‘ve been looking for.“
The FCC manager also was asked to give an update of Jurgen Locadia and his nagging thigh issue.
”After the weekend he needs to do a couple of tests“
”He‘s getting close. He‘s outside running again, feeling a lot better than he was. After the weekend he needs to do a couple of tests, when that goes well then he can join the group again. So it’s looking very good with Jurgen.”
On if there are still major decisions to be made based on performances this weekend and specifically with defender and trialist Edgar Castillo.
”No decisions will be made based on Saturday‘s game. We know very well what we want and what we need, we‘ve got a good view on things. Tomorrow‘s game isn't about getting a last chance to show anything.“
While it seems that Stam puts more stock in the weeks of training more than preseason friendlies, he did seem very high on Castillo. He may very well make the final roster.
”Edgar has been on trial, he´s been doing very well. He shows his ability and his personality which has been very good, so for him it´s looking quite well.”
(image: FC Cincinnati)
Media also had a chance to speak with young Argentinian winger Alvaro Barreal. Both the club and the fans are very excited about what Barreal can bring to the team this season, especially with the additions of Acosta and Brenner. Alvaro has seemed to really ”hit it off“with both of them.
On how he is feeling heading into his last preseason game this weekend.
”I feel good, I feel good physically. I think the team as a whole feels good physically. I think it should be a good test to make sure that we start the regular season on the right foot.“
On what he feels are the strengths of the team.
”We trust each other and we have each other‘s backs.”
”The team is strong right now. We brought in some reinforcements, and most importantly, we are getting along well. We are bonding right now, and I think that will be one of the strong suits for the team. We trust each other and we have each other‘s backs.”
On this releationship with Brenner, and how he and the other South American players are helping Brenner and each other.
”We‘re very happy with the addition of Brenner to the team. I‘ve been trying to help him get situated, but Luciano is helping him a bit more with the language since he can also talk to him in his native tongue (Portuguese.) Communication is key and that‘s something that we´ve been working on especially for us three that are going to be in the attack. It‘s key that we can be able to communicate on and off the pitch. That will show in how well the team is working together.”
On what he thinks on FCC´s back line, and which defender is the toughest to go up against in practice.
Alvaro predictably heaped praise on the entire defense, not singling out any player in particular.
”I think all of our defenders are tough. As an attacking player, you just try to rely on your strong suits and be efficiant in attack. But all of our defenders are tough to deal with.”
Alvaro was asked about how he´s adapted to the league since joining last summer, and if facing MLS oppontents this preseason is any different from last year.
”Yes, now I have. It was tough for me to adjust to the team and to the league last season. To be honest, those four games I was able to play were just an adjustment period for me. I feel at lot more comfortable with the team and the league this season, so we just have to keep working hard to get good results this season.”
As confirmation will surely come soon about Frankie Amaya’s departure. The club can finally move on, and be free of any distractions. The team will look to focus on each other and their final week of preseason. Saturday they take on another USL club in what they hope turns out to be a “tune up” game. Then it’s on to Nashville for the opener.
By: Rob Burkhardt