Updated: Apr 3
(image: FC Cincinnati)
FC Cincinnati manager Jaap Stam spoke with media members again Monday, and he gave some insight on his club’s progression. Stam talked about progression between the two preseason friendly games the club has had, as well as the connections he and his players are making on and off the pitch.
“We’re still waiting on players hopefully, we’ll see how it goes.”
“It’s been a good week. Having new players added into the roster adding quality, but also having players back who were not able to be here that first week. It’s been good to have several players added to the roster, you can see that the level of training and the level of the game goes up.” Also, Stam yet again alluded that more additions may be incoming. “We’re still waiting on players hopefully, we’ll see how it goes.”
Stam explained why he wanted to have as many preseason friendly games as he could. ”It makes it easier for me to see certain partnerships developing. That’s what you want to see in training and in the friendly games. That’s why I wanted to have several friendly games. I want to see how we’re doing after one week, after two weeks, after several weeks.”
FCC has now had two preseason games, one a 3-0 loss to Louisvile City FC after a week of training, and a reported (but not confirmed) 6-0 win against Indy 11. That game featured Brenner, Acosta and many other presumed starters. “The result in preseason is not the most important thing, it’s all about preparing ourselves this preseason in the best way for the first league game.”
”We’re going to Orlando tomorrow which is very positive. Staying together at the hotel, getting to know each other, especially the new players. That works well at the end of the day, with results.”
(image: FC Cincinnati)
On how the team responded to the defeat in the first friendly game, and if the loss was a wake up call for the players.
“It’s not only that you learn from games when you’re winning eh?"
”First I need to explain again, I’m organizing games for players who are available at the time to get a feeling of the ball after four months off. Yeah the result wasn’t too positive, but we need to take into consideration we had loads of opportunities to score, and we gave two goals away basically. Nothing was particularly bad in that game other than the result. We had only started training that week. So it’s wake up call in terms of intensity starting up again.” Stam spoke about the game allowing him to watch players who are trying to make the roster and that it showed his players that it’s time to work. “It’s not only that you learn from games when you’re winning eh? Most of the time you’re learning from games when you’re losing. So in a way it‘s a bit of a positive.”
On if there are any players who are standing out so far this preseason.
"Well we're expecting a lot more from everybody as individuals and also as a team. Also us as a staff, we need to look at ourselves and say ‘what can we do different to make certain things better.‘ Now we have six weeks, last season it was only two, so it's a totally different situation. Certain players are doing well, getting fitter."
Coach Stam then spoke about specific players who were impressing this preseason. He ended up naming half the roster. "If you look at Yuya (kubo) or Mokojto as well or new players coming in like Acosta and Brenner, Barreal, if you look at Joe Gyau as well that we're sometimes using at a different position. It's good to see how certain players react to certain positions, also their intensions in what THEY want to do. I'm mentioning a lot of names now, that doesn't mean that the other players aren't doing well. In general, the players are working hard, they're doing well and they're very eager to perform."
On how he feels about finally filling the no. 10 position and what his first impressions are of Luciano Acosta.
"It's been very positive. You see his ability on the ball, you see his creativity. That's what we needed. We needed someone to create, and I think he's the right player to do that."
On first impressions of Ronald Matarrita.
"He's been very good, he's been really an addition for the squad. He's aggressive, he goes forward, he scored in the friendly game as well. You can see his quality on the ball. It's only been a couple of weeks, but you don't need to have a long period of time to figure out if a player is an addition. Stam spoke about Mata's mentality being what the team needs. "You need to have quality of course, but you also need to have that mentality to push yourseof and other players forward, and he's one of the players who's doing that."
(image: FC Cincinnati)
It seems like Matarrita has stepped in and immediately become a leader on the club. Coach Stam seems very happy with both is quality and his leadership. Notice the arm band in the picture?
On how the club's top draft picks, forward Calvin Harris and defender Avionne Flanagan have performed so far.
"Yeah, they're looking good. I've been very positive on their play, so we picked the right players. Calvin has great running stamina, a lot of pace, and also quality on the ball. He needs to get used to the level, to the intensity that I'm asking for, but you can see that he can become even better for us."
"There's a lot of teams that are asking for him, that are interested in him."
Coach Stam was also asked about Calvin Harris history of coming close to a professional contract prior to FC Cincinnati and if his quality is at a professional level. He had an interesting response about Harris having interest from other clubs. "Calvin has great ability, he reads the game well and he has tremendous pace. We're helping him be more clever at using that pace. There's a lot of teams that are asking for him, that are interested in him. I'm happy very happy that we've got him within our roster."
"It's the same with Avionne, good left foot, he has played on the wing but also as a left back where we're using him. He has quality, a good cross, good pace, good physique. He needs to learn how to use that physique a little bit better, but he's making progress as well. We're happy with the draft players who've come in."
On options to back up Ronald Matarrita while he is away on National team duty.
"We're still looking for other names that we can add to the roster for that position."
"We're looking at players within the roster that can replace him. We have Zico Bailey who did very well last season when he came on as a right back. He also has the ability to play on the left side."
"We're still looking for other names that we can add to roster for that position. I know that Gerard is also looking for other names that could help us out."
Stam spoke on how Jurgen Locadia has looked this preseason and what he needs to show before the end of this loan.
"Jurgen is happy since he arrived here. I see him smile often, he's happy. He's very much committed to what we are doing. He likes the competition he as up front (with Brenner). What we want to see from him is quaility, and what he can bring. Last year we saw sparks of it, having been injured, it's not always easy to come back into the game. But we can see what he can do, this season he is very eager to show that again. Hopefully he can be an impact player for us this season."
Coach Stam left the media with this final comment about finally having some depth on the roster.
"We need to create a roster where we can have choices, where there's competition that pushes the players." I think it's safe to say that Stam is happy with what he's seen so far. Now it's on to Orlando!
By: Rob Burkhardt