Clean sheet a plus for Lightbourne
The Bermuda Under-20 side warmed up for the Concacaf Under-20 Championship with a goalless draw against Miami Fusion at the Sawgrass Grand Sports Complex in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, yesterday.
Kyle Lightbourne, the under-20 coach, could take plenty of positives from his team’s performance against an experienced Fusion who play in the National Premier Soccer League.
The Fusion played in the Major League Soccer for four seasons between 1998 to 2001 and qualified for the 2016 US Open Cup after winning the Sunshine Conference. Last season they came third in the conference.
Lightbourne took the opportunity to experiment with his side ahead of their opening match of the championship against Trinidad and Tobago in Costa Rica on Sunday.
“It was a good run out for our guys,” Lightbourne said. “We created some chances but just didn’t finish them off. They actually had to use one of our goalkeepers, so it was good that both got 90 minutes. Both goalkeepers kept clean sheets and played a half for each team.”
Lightbourne has been pleased with Bermuda’s training camp in Florida and feels confident ahead of his side’s opening group C match.
“We made a few changes to the team and played guys in different positions just to see if they can cope in certain areas,” Lightbourne said.
“Overall it was a good workout for us and gives us something to work on between now and our opening game against Trinidad.”
Yesterday’s match was Bermuda’s only warm-up game before heading to Costa Rica tomorrow. Today is a rest day with the coaching staff to hold a tactical meeting with the players.
“Today is recovery and we’ll talk about what we can do better and where we need to be stronger,” Lightbourne added.
Bermuda beat Trinidad 2-1 in a third-place play-off match at the Caribbean Football Union Under-20 Championship in Curaçao in October last year.
They face them again on Sunday at the Estadio Ricardo Saprissa before playing El Salvador on February 22 and Costa Rica on February 25.
Bermuda are making their debut at the championship — the final qualifier for the Under-20 World Cup to be held in South Korea from May 20 to June 11.
Lightbourne’s side qualified for the Concacaf Under-20 Championship after finishing runners-up in their group in Curaçao.
They reached the semi-finals, losing 3-0 to Haiti.
Bermuda’s squad includes Bristol City forward Osagi Bascome and Walsall midfielder Kacy-Milan Butterfield, the under-20 captain, along with several other players based in England and the United States.