Set pieces have consistently been a weakness for FC Tampa Bay — defending against them as well as pressuring the goal from offensive set pieces.
Tuesday's 4-0 debacle at FC Edmonton was more of the same, according to coach Ricky Hill.
Tampa Bay gave up the first goal in the 28th minute when a corner kick in Edmonton's half led to a three-on-one breakout for the host team. Nine minutes later, a failed clearance gave Edmonton a second uncomplicated goal.
"Those two fractures gave us a mountain to climb," Hill said. "It was an uphill battle the rest of the way."
Tampa Bay had opportunities to get back in the game, notably when Tsuyoshi Yoshitake hit the post off a header in the 53rd minute, but Edmonton scored twice more to end a nightmarish night.
"Our vulnerability is set pieces, with the ball and without the ball," Hill said. "… For whatever reason, we're not competing well enough in both boxes."
Compounding Tuesday's loss, three players left the game with injuries, which have overwhelmed the team in recent weeks. Midfielder Chad Burt (foot) and defender J.P. Rodrigues (knee) are the least likely to play in Saturday's home game against NASL league-leading Carolina. Forward Warren Ukah received a gash in his head that required five stitches but should play Saturday. Midfielder Shane Hill, who replaced Burt in the 35th minute, injured his ankle but has more of a chance of playing Saturday than Burt or Rodrigues.
Defenders Omar Jarun and Andres Arango stayed in Tampa, and their availability this weekend depends on their fitness during Friday's training session.
Kickin' it with | GK Jeff Attinella
How gratifying was it to win the NASL Defender of the Week award three weeks after your professional debut?
It was definitely exciting. I felt like lately I've been playing well and to have the league recognize that, I think it's hopefully a good start. I hope it's not the only time I win this season. I hope I have a couple more of them by the end of the year.
Do you feel any added pressure knowing a number of your friends and family are in the stands watching?
I think I enjoy it because being from the area, I think the people of Tampa are kind of rooting for me to succeed because they like the hometown kid story. It keeps me from slacking off, keeps me on top of my game knowing that people expect a lot from me.
You've experienced the highs and lows of a professional goalkeeper, having allowed four goals Tuesday while posting shutouts in your previous two starts. How do you keep games like the one vs. Edmonton from shaking your confidence?
As a goalie, you can only do so much. (Tuesday), truthfully, I thought I had a better game than I did in both shutouts. I thought I made the saves that I could. There's going to be shots in situations where you couldn't do anything better than you did. (The Edmonton game) was unfortunately one of those situations.
Where do you go in the bay area to relax and relieve the fatigue from daily training sessions?
My fiancee gets annoyed a little bit, but I'm big on going to other sporting events. I love the Tampa teams, and I'm a big supporter of all of them. I go to a ton of Rays games. I went to all the Lightning home games during the playoffs. I had my Stanley Cup tickets ready to go but I'll have to wait until next year, I guess.
Out of the box
FC Tampa Bay arrived back in the bay area late Wednesday, ending the longest road trip, in miles, the team will make all season.
The team departed Friday for Minneapolis, playing NSC Minnesota to a 0-0 draw on Saturday. Sunday, the team left for Edmonton with a layover in Denver. After Tuesday's result, the team spent all day Wednesday in airports, going from Edmonton to Chicago to Tampa.
All totaled, Tampa Bay traveled 5,481 miles during the six days.