Assistant coach of Antigua Barracuda FC, Lenny Hewlett, has shared concerns over the number of scoring opportunities his players continue to squander despite of their dominance in the five-team International Division of the United Soccer Leagues (USL Pro).
During an interview, Hewlett said he is happy that the goals being scored are coming from a wide cross-section of players which include defenders and midfielders, but believes that if they converted more of the opportunities they create, the players would be more relaxed going into the closing minutes of their contests.
“Still missing a lot of easy chances but it is something that we need to work on and it is something we are working on and hopefully things will come together,” Hewlett said.
“But we have been scoring goals from different parts of the field like the defence, (midfielder) Mitchum came up good last night (Sunday), but I think we could have put that game to bed a long time ago but we missed a few easy chances. I think if we capitalise on our easy chances, it would be easier for the team and we could play more relaxed.”
Barracuda won their sixth straight match in the competition on Sunday by a 1-0 margin over a visiting River Plate Puerto Rico FC as they maintain their status at the top of the standings with 18 points after eight matches.
The lone strike came from Kittitian player, Orlando Mitchum, who rocketed into the roof of the net after running on a loose ball just on the edge of the 18 yards box.
The midfielder took what was a rebound off a Tamarley “Ziggy” Thomas attempt that was initially blocked by custodian Craig Hill, on his chest before spanking the ball past a number of defenders and the stranded goalie and into the upper portion of the net.
The thunderous strike came in minute 23.
The aim, according to Hewlett, is to finish atop of their Division.
“Coming first or second in your zone (means) that you are automatically into the play-offs; then after the play-offs, there are some different rounds that you go through in terms of quarter-finals and semi-finals and hopefully we will end up in the finals,” he said.
“The finals will be played at the grounds that has the biggest (recorded) home grounds so it is very important that we have a big home crowd in Antigua that we can get the home crowd advantage as we say.”
The ‘Cudas will now look towards a demanding five-game road trip before returning to Antigua on May 29.
“The last road trip we went on was sort of difficult (but) I think the players handled it very well. There was no mourning and we had some long trips, long bus rides, and everyone just came on board, came together as a team and went out and played very well.
“This road trip, we know what to look for actually, so it shouldn’t be as difficult as the first one. I think the players have adopted to being on the road and just going out there and doing the job that is required,” he added
Barracuda will leave for Puerto Rico on Tuesday where they will take on Puerto Rico United on May 12 before departing for Rochester, New York to battle Rochester Rhinos on May 14.
The road trip continues on May 18 when they tackle River Plate Puerto Rico in Puerto Rico and then Charlotte Eagles on May 20.
The five-game road trip concludes on May 22 in Puerto Rico against Sevilla FC.
Barracuda return home for their match against Los Angeles Blues on May 29 at Sticky Wicket Stadium.