TAMPA — David Hayes joined FC Tampa Bay this offseason to begin his coaching career. But the 34-year-old assistant coach found himself on the field in the season-opening 1-0 win over Montreal, playing a full 90 minutes at left outside back.
With defender Andres Arango serving the second half of a two-game suspension Sunday against Puerto Rico, Hayes will be on the field again. But once Arango returns in Week 3, Hayes said he will return to the sideline.
The season-ending injury to defender Yendry Diaz as well as the late arrivals of Omar Jarun and J.P. Rodrigues left the back row's depth depleted, forcing Hayes onto the pitch.
"If everyone's healthy and everyone's here, I'm not out there," Hayes said. "Mentally, you're in a different state. When you're playing, you're in that player mentality. You don't want to yell because it's not a good vibe. If you're a coach, you can yell and they respect that, but on the field you're an equal. It's a fine line."
Once Arango returns, coach Ricky Hill said he might move away from the team's 4-4-2, possibly playing three defenders with Arango, Jarun and Rodrigues and adding a forward up top to give a more offensive-minded look.
Though the back row limited Montreal forward Ali Gerba, who scored nine goals in 13 games for the Impact last season, the defenders face a tougher task this week in the more mobile and quicker Nick Addlery, who scored 15 goals last season.
"It's going to be a good test," Hayes said. "Puerto Rico is very good on set pieces. They compete nonstop. … My passes need to be quicker and I need to get involved more."
Kickin' it with GK Daryl Sattler
If you weren't a professional soccer player, what would you be?
I would have a personal training business. I do that on the side. I run boot camps, one-on-one camps, speed-agility clinics in the offseason. I'm a fitness junkie.
What would be your dream team to play for?
I grew up watching Glasgow Rangers of the Scottish League first division. The biggest thing is that they had a goalkeeper named Andy Goram who I loved to watch.
What's your favorite opposing stadium to play in?
It was really a blast playing in Portland because of their fan base and their atmosphere there. It's exciting to see that Miami (Fort Lauderdale) gets more than 300 people to their games (this season). They just lacked the people (a year ago). It felt like a pickup game sometimes.
What's something few people know about you?
I like painting. I have a friend in Nashville who did it. She said she was too poor to buy her own art so she made her own. It's very therapeutic. I just put some music on and paint.
Out of the box
One of the little-known league rule changes this season will have a huge impact. Teams are allowed only three substitutions compared with five last year, which coach Ricky Hill said makes subs more "methodical" — meaning subs can't be eaten up early in case of injuries or a red card.
In the win over Montreal, second-half sub forwards Mike Ambersley and Warren Ukah entered in the 69th minute and provided a late offensive spark that led to the winning goal in the 85th minute.
"You have to err on the side of caution but at the same time you want to have whoever is coming in to impact the game right away," Hill said.
Midfielder Mozzi Gyorio also entered in stoppage time. Hill said Gyorio is still learning to play all four midfield spots.
"I see Mozzi as an additional creative element to the side," Hill said. "We're trying to teach him a general midfielder's role."
Number of the week: 4,161
Adjusted attendance for Saturday's home opener — 3,693 was announced at the game — after the team audited its new ticket system.
FC Tampa Bay vs. Puerto Rico
When/where: 6 p.m. Sunday; Al Lang Field, St. Petersburg
Tickets: fctampabay.com, (813) 287-1539