LAND O'LAKES — One of the reasons Paul Dalglish found the opportunity to be the Rowdies coach so riveting was the idea of piecing together a team from the ground up.
And now, with the Rowdies 2-2 in the preseason — and coming off back-to-back shutout wins — heading into an off week, Tampa Bay's team identity is rounding into place.
The key, Dalglish said, is spacing his players and using the length of the field for concise passing to create a hard-charging pressure attack.
"To break it down, it's more of a shorter passing style with real width, a real short attacking style with instant pressure from the front," Dalglish said. "We're going to work just as hard without the ball than with it and try to win the ball as high up the field as possible."
ANOTHER ON LOAN? Colorado Rapids defender Rob Valentino has been at practice with the Rowdies this week and could be the team's second player on loan from an MLS team.
Valentino was drafted 13th overall in 2008 by the New England Revolution and was traded to the Rapids in May. The 24-year-old was a member of the U.S. U-23 National Team in 2007 and starred in college at San Francisco.
Third-year FC Dallas goalkeeper Josh Lambo is playing with the Rowdies on a season-long loan. He can be recalled by the MLS team at any point in the season.
BEARDSLEY GIVEN RELEASE: Twenty-year-old defender Jason Beardsley was released from his contract last week and returned to England.
Beardsley, who played two preseason games at right back, was homesick, the team confirmed, and wanted to return abroad to play. He was one of the top stars of the Rowdies' Liverpool combine.
With the team's surplus of midfielders, New Zealander Jeremy Christie has moved to defender.
NEXT PRESEASON GAME: After an off week, the Rowdies play their fifth and final preseason game at 7:30 p.m. April 10 against USF at the USF Soccer Stadium.
Tickets are $5 in advance and $7 the day of the game. There will be a youth soccer clinic for ages 7-13, which will cost $10 (game ticket included and bring your own ball, must be bought in advance). The clinic is before the game from 6-7 p.m.
The Bulls are full of local talent. Starting goalkeeper Jeff Attinella, a Countryside High alumnus, was named first-team NCSAA All-American this past season. Rising junior midfielder Sebastien Thuriere (Seminole) scored the winning in the 2008 Big East championship game, and former Gaither star Fernando Gonzalez, a rising senior midfielder, was recently named to the Puerto Rican Olympic team.
Call toll-free 1-800-462-8557 for ticket information.