May 3, 2017 at Seminole Soccer County Sports Complex

Availability: HC Anthony Pulis, MF Pierre da Silva

For Pulis, the next step for da Silva is to be more consistent.

Well I think Pierre’s probably got better as it’s gone on. I think he’s obviously still very young, and he’s at an age that he needs to be playing regularly. I think at the start when he came with OCB, he looked a little bit rusty, if you like, because I don’t think he’d had regular minutes in preseason, and you’ve seen, obviously, as he’s now got into a rhythm of playing that he’s gradually got better. I think the biggest thing from last year with Pierre was sort of managing his inconsistency levels and trying getting to be a more consistent performer this year ‘cus I think that’s the one thing with younger players is you’ll see their performances go up and down and up and down. And for him to now really kind of establish himself and try and break into the MLS 18 is to be consistently performing well for OCB. And I think you’ve seen that. And I think obviously he’s got one of the highest assists in USL, which is a credit to him, and now the next layer for him, I think, is to try and see if he can get on he score sheet a little bit more often.

Pulis sees da Silva as one of the players instrumental in helping the host of new OCB players integrate with their new team.

I think the role that he plays—he’s a really good kid. He understands the game, but he’s also good in and around the locker room and with the guys, and I think having him, having [Lewis Neal] and Zach [Ellis-Hayden] and a few of the other guys that were here with us last year, those guys kind of understand the way that I work and the way that we want things to be done, and I think it always helps when you’ve got those guys that know how things should be done and to help those new guys along. So I think he’s done a good job in that respect.

So far this season, OCB striker Michael Cox has played in just three matches.

These next two weeks is gonna be really important for not just [Cox] but a lot of the guys that haven’t really played a lot. Due to the amount of games we’ve had, it means you can’t do as much in training as you would like ‘cus you have to keep the players fresh. Now we have this kind of two-week break. It allows us to do more in training and work them harder and get better quality sessions into them. So, these two weeks is gonna be important for [Cox] and a number of the other guys to try and force their way in.

On Tuesday, Orlando City SC head coach Jason Kreis said right-back Rafael Ramos got a scan to check his hamstring, noting there was no new injury. Ramos trained with OCB in full on Wednesday.

He’s been great every time he’s been with us. He’s been good. I think it’s very frustrating for players. I’ve been there as a player when you have injuries and especially when they reoccur as well. So, I think it’s been mentally challenging time for Rafa, but hopefully now he can get himself fit and stay fit. And whenever he’s with us, we’re obviously pleased to have him.

Right-back Kevin Alston is not fully training still.

I think his recovery is going pretty well as far as I can gather. I’m not really sure how far away he’s away from full training, but, again, Kevin’s another one that’s been with us, and when he’s been with us, he’s been great.

Pulis and Kreis have not recently discussed any movements between their respective sides yet, as the club’s Major League Soccer side is on a two-game road trip in Toronto and Houston.

Not really. I think, obviously, it’s a busy time, at the moment, for the MLS team. So, obviously, they’re on the road now for kind of five or six days. So, to be honest with you, we haven’t really had any developing conversations about what’s gonna happen at Cincinnati. We’re still two weeks away from our next game, so, I think from the first team’s perspective, we will probably start having conversations about personnel after the Houston Dynamo game at the weekend.

MF Pierre da Silva

In his second season with OCB, da Silva is using his experience from last season to guide him.

I mean, it changed a lot. Last year, I felt that—it was my first year as a pro, so I was getting into it, like, little by little, but now I’m really comfortable with, like, the playing style, the intensity and everything. So, I think I grew as a player, and I’m gonna growing more and more and just building up from there.

In order to eventually make it back to the club’s MLS side, da Silva knows his focus has to be on his time with OCB.

To get to that goal, I have to play well with the USL team and prove them every game that I deserve a spot on the MLS team. So, every game is a very important for me for the USL team, OCB. Trying to get three points, maybe an assist every game ‘cus I’m top of the league right now with assists. So just keep working hard and hopefully just get up there.

For da Silva, helping his new teammates integrate into the team is relatively easy because he was in their position just last year.

There’s a couple new guys, and last year I was the new guy. So, I know how they feel, so I always make them comfortable ‘cus we’re all family. So, in the locker room, you’re just having a laugh, everything. We’re just bringing them.

We go out to eat and stuff like that, like off the field. When we’re having an off days, we’re always, like, together. We go out, we eat, and then we just go home, play some video games.


Follow Victor Tan on Twitter at @NDR_VictorTan.

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