His absence from the field, but presence at the Tampa Bay Rowdies combine, had led some to speculate that former University of Tampa All-American Pascal Milien was one of the players the Rowdies had already signed to become part of their inaugural season.
But while Milien said he and his people and the Rowdies are talking, nothing is definite yet.
“We’re working on something right now, so we’ll just wait and see how everything’s going to be going,” Milien said. “Those guys saw me play at the MLS combine, and I have a little ankle injury, and I don’t want to make it worse, so that’s why (I’m not playing).”
Milien said he would love to stay in Tampa, though.
“It would be really, really exciting because this is my hometown, pretty much,” Milien said. “This is where I go to school, 45 minutes away from where I went to high school. Nice, beautiful weather in Florida, so I would love to stay here.”
TAKING HIS CHANCE: The first combine the Rowdies held in Tampa didn’t go well for St. Petersburg’s Chad Burt. Injured on the opening day, he didn’t get much opportunity to impress General Manager Perry Van Der Beck.
This time around, Burt is making the most of his chance. He has played well for the first two days, and picked up a goal on Wednesday while going close with another pair of opportunities.
“My legs are getting a little tired,” Burt said. “I played a little bit more simple today defensively, and it was great to get the goal. Make it a little easier on me and my teammates.”
Burt had bags of ice strapped to his calves after the game to help cool as the afternoon sun appeared to take its toll on a lot of players. His Yellow ‘B’ squad, after a shaky first 15 minutes, settled down and played well for the final 15 minutes of the first period and the opening 15 of the second before the game slowed.
“When the game starts, it was all very tight, you’ve got everyone flying around,” Burt said. “When the game settled down we got a little more possession out of the back. It’s a lot easier when you’re moving the ball instead of having everyone flying around at 100 miles-per-hour, but I felt like after that first 15 we got the ball to the players we needed to hold the ball and went from there.”
SCRIMMAGE SUMMARIES: In warmer conditions that Tuesday, the pace of the opening game between the Yellow ‘B’ and Blue ‘A’ teams was pretty frenetic, with the Blue squad getting the better of it as the Yellow side wasn’t as sharp as in its opener. Former USF standout Francisco Aristeguieta moved into the center of midfield for Blue, playing on the top of a triangle with Stanley Nyazamba and Takuya Yamada, and seemed more comfortable there than in the opening game where he had played wide.
Aristeguita almost opened the scoring, in fact, after a nice move down the right was centered to the top of the penalty area where Sean Bucker layed it off to Aristeguieta for a drive, only for former University of Tampa All-American Ryan Thompson to tip the shot over the crossbar.
But then the Yellow squad found its rhythm, led by midfielder Alan Sanchez and defender Otto Loewy, who had an excellent game at the back. That led to a pair of chances for Chad Burt, the first beautifully turned aside by Blue goalkeeper Dan Williams, but the second finding the back of the net.
Burt then saw his curling shot from just outside the penalty area go over the bar just after the break, while forward Aaron Wheeler also did nice work up top for the blue squad.
The Yellow ‘A’ squad got off to a fast start in their game against the Blue ‘B’ team as a counter-attack was capped by an early goal for Bryan Perez. The Yellow team pursued a more aggressive approach in getting the ball forward, and full back Taylor Lord was impressive not only in defense, but also when he made a good run past two players to set up an attack that led to a good effort on goal by Tyrell Burgess.
The Blue squad was a little more patient in its build-up, with Ryan Maduro from Providence pulling the strings well in midfield and Dwight Barnett again offering good strength and work-rate up front. But as in the opening day, Barnett often didn’t get the support he needed from his midfield, and was left to toil alone.
After the break, with former Chicago Fire draftee and Ridgewood High Richard Jata holding a more prominent role, the Yellow squad did well. They scored their second goal of the game after Jata had his shot from the left parried away, only for the rebound to come to Alex Weekes, who rifled a low shot into the back of the net from 15 yards out.