After any game, athletes need time to recover. Time to relax and recuperate for their next game. Typically, that precious time doesn't come on the seats of an airplane, but for FC Cincinnati it did.
FCC departed from Chicago to Orlando on Thursday. On Wednesday, Cincinnati took care of business by grabbing a 1-0 win over Chicago Fire FC.
With the quick turnaround from Chicago to Saturday's match against Toronto, which will be played in Orlando due to COVID-19 restrictions, the team did not return to Cincinnati in consideration of time.
The two hour and 50 minute flight from Chicago to Orlando was supposed to save the team from the hassle of jet lag, until it turned into a near 12-hour travel day.
“I think in the time that we traveled over here we could’ve flown to Europe in the same amount of time,” joked head coach Jaap Stam on a Friday Zoom call with the media. “It was a very long day, very tiring of course. With the players after the game, they need to recuperate and you don’t want to be in a plane for four hours waiting and then again two and a half hours flying, that’s a bit too long but that’s how it went and we need to make the best out of it.”
The team took Thursday night to rest before getting back to training on Friday morning at the University of Central Florida. Stam said the team is healthy and it'll look to stay that way come Saturday at 7 p.m.
Stam mentioned weather as a factor influencing the teams travel-filled week. The blazing 88-degree Florida sun provides different playing conditions than the mild, rainy forecast they saw in Chicago.
“Sometimes in how it goes towards the game the circumstances aren’t always 100% but that’s what you need to do you need to handle that and hopefully we can get the best out of it,” Stam said. “Playing two games or three games in a week it’s difficult … But we’re still in the beginning of the season so players are fit and they’re getting fitter. They need to be able to produce at a certain level within a short amount of time.”
The busy week is just the beginning of a schedule that picks up the pace in the next month. FC Cincinnati has six matches scheduled in July.
Despite admitting a bit of fatigue, Yuya Kubo said the team will be ready when Saturday rolls around.
“I think everybody is a little bit tired but that’s normal,” Kubo said. “I think tomorrow everybody will be fit, I think we can play. I think tomorrow everybody will feel better.”
Toronto will enter Saturday's match in a similar position having played two matches this week against Montreal and Nashville. Toronto lost both.
Kubo said if the team carries over energy from Chicago he’ll feel good about the match.
“We need to play like we did in Chicago next game against Toronto,” Kubo said. “We are feeling good I think and we can win this game. If we play like last game, I think we can get a point.”
FCC's match against Toronto will begin at 7 p.m. on Saturday. It will be played at Exploria Stadium in Orlando.