Availability: Head Coach Tom Sermanni & Defender Monica Hickman Alves
Head Coach Tom Sermanni
The Orlando Pride (0-2-1, 1 Point) hit the road this week to face FC Kansas City (1-2-0, 3 Points) on Sunday May 7th, at 5 p.m. in the Swope Soccer Village, after a 3-1 loss on the road to the North Carolina Courage (3-0-0, 9 Points).
When asked about how the team has rebounded over their previous game, Sermanni was quick to say they are a very up-beat and positive team.
“They’re not a much of a beat group and they stay in good spirits, and you have to be as a professional team. You are going to go into spells of results that go against you, and you’ve just got to turn on working on a positive manner and be ready to do your job. At the moment that’s the environment, atmosphere within the group.”
Sermanni points out what he believes were the biggest flaws in the game against the Courage.
“They are just such a powerful team, a team that is ideally suited for this league and they play a brand of football that is suited to how they play and is very difficult to play against. In a sense, in hindsight we do have to play much more conservatory than we would like at this stage. So we need to perhaps look tactically at how we play to stop those chances against them, but they did create a lot of chances and they’ve done that against most teams that they have played against. So we need to look at ways to counter act that when we play them again. We have to limit those opportunities. And as I say, ultimately a lot of it was on us not being switched on in transition and a lot of it was on individual, one-on-one defending”
Tom elaborated a little bit more, on what he means by defensive lapses and switching on to transition.
“Some of it is individual, defensive lapses to be honest and that’s down to our coaching but it’s also down to the individual to be just a little more disciplined in that defending area, and some of it is down to the fact that we are not quite as alert on transition, when we lose the ball as we need to be. Again that’s a team thing, and things we need to look out for both on video and in practice to make sure that we stay switched on and tight defensively. I don’t think its necessarily a structural thing within the team, so I don’t think we need to get around looking on changing the system or go around doing something generally different. So if you can ratify those two things, better in transition and a bit more switched on in how we defend I think we’ll be ok.”
He does not feel the necessity of implementing new training techniques to reaffirm those finishing opportunities.
“Not really, we work on those things every day. I mean, look at today there was finishing happening all the time and that’s all part of our approach. I think to just put on a simple passing and finishing practice is not necessary going to translate to scoring goals. The important thing is for us to practice as we do every day in a proper manner and then we go on the soccer field to play our game on the weekend to keep getting into those goal scoring positions and turn around if we haven’t had the proper degree to find some finishing, you got to just keep turning up on those areas and eventually things will come around. “
Despite the flaws, Sermanni also shared the positive aspects he has noticed among his team this season.
“I feel we’ve done a lot of good things in all the games we’ve played in, and in just certain areas that we are being punished for at the moment and that happens sometimes in a team. The positives are that for long spells in games we’ve been a dominant team, that we’ve created probably more chances in the first three games than perhaps half a season last year. So those are positives and there are some other things we need to be a little bit better individually and as a team, and if we can rectify those then hopefully the results will follow. “
Team captain Ashlyn Harris constructively criticized her team’s game right after the Courage match but appeared to be somewhat frustrated, Tom shared how he perceives those comments/criticisms.
“She’s got the right to be frustrated at that [defensive lapses], and to bring that up. For me there is no problem with that. The key is in that after the game we get into a training environment and get prepared for the next game. So players get frustrated is not a bad thing, making sure that frustration doesn’t impact the players individual performance and the team’s performance is the key. So I think when Ashlyn is critical, there is usually a good reason for it and a justified reason.”
For the head coach those types of criticisms don’t counter the positive environment and mindset the team has.
“Not necessarily, I think people have got to balance out your positivity, being positive isn’t being “raw raw” everything is going fine. Positivity is about turning up every day ready to do the job the very best you can, in a manner that is not a negative manner. That doesn’t mean you are free from criticism, we watched the video from the game on the weekend and we have to critique that game very seriously and within that critique you are criticizing the flaws and that is not a negative, that’s looking at the areas we need to improve on to do better and get results. So I think making comments where it’s in a little bit of frustration at the time or comments on where we are not doing things well isn’t necessarily a negative thing. “
Although the Pride girls haven’t had an easy stretch going into this season, Sermanni shared that the draw is irrelevant.
“No, I mean the draw at the start of the season hasn’t been a perfect one for us, but for me that is irrelevant. At the end of the day you play ten teams and 24 games, in whatever order they come in, and how good or bad the draw is for you. So playing on the road should be no different than playing at home. “
Lastly, Tom has a good feeling going into Sunday’s match.
“They have not reached out to the season as well, they’ve had some injuries, some changes in the squad, so they’re the type of team that if we look out on paper, it is the kind of game we should be able to get out and get three points from. “
Monica Hickman Alves – Defender
Monica shared her insight on what she believes were some of the teams flaws in the past games.
“In my opinion we’ve got an amazing team, I just feel that something fell. Like we don’t find each other, but we are ready do make that, to build and go to the game, and make a victory count. We had a lot of conversations yesterday and we know we needed to strengthen the group and build towards that, and give our best here, so that we can win, win and win.”
She believes the team is very close to perfecting those flaws and talks about some new positioning.
“Yea I think we’re getting close. It’s a new season, it’s a new team, we have a lot of players are in different positions, like for me, I’m in a different position, so that’s a challenge this year and we need time, we just need time.”
Monica spoke a little more on how she’s been adapting from playing in the back line to playing more as a defensive mid.
“How I said, it’s a challenge for me, it is not easy to change your position. I did play a little bit last year over there, but I know I’m not perfect there. But I try to give my best and to build the team, like to change the team, like to switch on like Tom said. I think as we grow together we’re going to be good. “
When asked if everyone was staying in good spirits, the defender quickly replied:
“Yea, yea. We have to be positive everyday than the wins come.”
Before being joined by defender Camila and forward Marta, Monica was the only Brazilian on the team. Here is what she had to say about having more Brazilians by her side.
“Last season was a little hard, but just because I couldn’t speak with the players so that was a little hard. But now we got new players, new Brazilians, that means we have more energy, we smile more, I don’t know, I’m more comfortable now.”
Monica has been accompanying Camilla’s growth from the Brazilian national team, to her Houston Dash days and now beside her at the Pride where the defender scored her First-Pride and team’s only goal vs. the Courage last Saturday.
“I’ve always said that Camilla is a nice player, a wonderful player so she can be more than she thinks. I also said to her, keep going, keep going. Try at every training something better or something that you are not good at, just try to be better and I think she is going to grow. She is going to give us more than just one nice goal. “
When asked what the team has to do to get a win against Kansas City, Alves pin-pointed the following:
“We need to do more. More energy, more passing, good speed and transition we need to do better. Like when we lose the ball we need to be ready to defend again and go for it and take a chance.
Overall head coach Tom Sermanni feels positive about this upcoming encounter against FC Kansas.
What’s your thumb feel on Kansas City?
“They have not reached out to the season as well, they’ve had some injuries, some changes in the squad, so they’re the type of team that if we look out on paper it is the kind of game we should be able to get out, and get three points from. “
Photo by Adrian Hernandez / Orlando Soccer Journal