FC Tampa Bay looks to notch its first win of the pre-season this weekend against Swedish Allsvenskan (First Division) side BK Hacken from Gothenburg. FC Tampa Bay travels to Sunrise tomorrow night to play BK Hacken at the Kics International Sports Complex, home to training facilities enjoyed by, among other teams, the United States Under-20 Team. Led by veteran goalkeeper Christoffer Källqvist, BK Hacken finished 8th in their division last year. They are currently in their own pre-season, spending it in Florida to escape the Swedish winter.
Coming off a 1-1 draw against the University of Tampa last weekend, FC Tampa Bay looks to solidify its midfield that was troubled by lack of match fitness and the sandy terrain at Pepin Stadium. Having only been training together for five days, the team struggled to mount a fluid attack, as the five new signings and multiple trialists attempted to gel with the returning players in the midfield. The bright spot of the initial game was the defensive line, made entirely of new signings and trialists, did not allow a goal in the run of play. Only one defender from last season remains under contract, evidence of the defensive breakdowns that plagued the team last season. The midfield and forwards linked up several times, but were unable to get a shot through to the back of the net until the 81st minute.
BK Hacken, coming off consecutive wins in the last week, are already showing evidence of match fitness and the ability to finish their chances, scoring three goals in both of their games, five of them coming in the second half. This will prove to be the first major test for the newly minted defensive duo of Andres Arrango and Frankie Sanfilippo. Kickoff is at 3:30 PM in Sunrise and a standing-room only crowd is expected.