December 7, 2012 - Professional Arena Soccer League (PASL) - Anaheim Bolts
ANAHEIM, Calif. - When asked about this coming Sunday's home game against Turlock Express, Bolts Head Coach Bernie Lilavois stressed the importance of erasing unpleasant memories by focusing on the team's performance in its most recent league match. After dropping two straight road games by the closest of margins, Anaheim bounced back less than a week ago with a dominant victory over hosts Sacramento Surge.
The recent results see Lilavois' men with a record of 2-2 away from home and an overall record of 3-2.
"I've been reminding the guys that we've won two of our road games and lost both of the other two by only one goal, with one of those losses coming in overtime," the man in charge of the Bolts said. "That's not bad at all. Most teams would love to split their road games. If you split all your road games and win all your home games, you're a playoff team.
"Are we disappointed that we lost both of the really close games? Yes. Do we think we should have won them? Yes. But what can we do? You just have to get back to work and make things right. The good thing is that we're playing Turlock at home only about a week after losing to them. That gives us a chance to immediately set the record straight with a win."
Defender David Adams, who missed the most recent road trip after taking a knock in training, is expected back to anchor the Anaheim backline on Sunday. The 33-year-old joined Lilavois in focusing on the positives from his team's first five matches of the season, an emotional road win over hosts Las Vegas Legends in early November ranking as one of the highlights thus far.
"The win in Vegas was huge for the team," Adams said. "It was a very tough and intense game, given the quality of their roster and the fact that they have several former Bolts players. Getting three points from that match was a huge confidence boost for the team and showed that we can play at a very high level."
The former Santiago Canyon College star is optimistic that his side will live up to its potential during the remainder of the campaign.
"We need to get everybody on the same page a bit more," he assessed. "We've been lacking a bit of that understanding of what each person needs to do in order to be successful collectively. I think the training sessions this week have gotten us a lot closer to where we need to be, and finally having most of our guys available on Sunday should help as well. Going forward, I foresee nothing but good things for us."
Defensive improvement continues to be of the essence for the Bolts, who kept an opponent below five goals for the first time in their most recent game, Sunday's 10-2 win at Sacramento .
"I know we can score," Head Coach Lilavois said. "We've proven that by getting ten goals or more in every game so far. But it's also true that the road game in Sacramento was the only time we played well defensively. We finally did a lot of things we've been working on over the past few weeks, and we need to make sure we continue down that path in order to be successful on Sunday."
Veteran back Adams offered a detailed analysis of Anaheim 's defensive struggles in the first four matches of the PASL season.
"Sometimes we keep the ball and do good things with it, but other times we try to force an attack and end up turning over possession," he said. "That leads to counter-attacks with our guys being out of place, which is how we've conceded a lot of goals. Too many times we don't get beaten because the other team breaks us down but because we make mistakes.
"That said, people also need to remember that a lot of our guys are relatively inexperienced in the indoor game. That was especially obvious in our season opener, where oftentimes we'd take a shot and be surprised by the counter-attack because we only had one guy back defending. That has gotten better as our less experienced players are learning the game, and I'm sure we'll take another step forward on Sunday."
One factor that is in the Bolts' favor is the team's schedule. After opening the season on November 2 against visiting Sacramento, Bernie Lilavois' men played four consecutive road fixtures, leaving them with seven home matches in the remaining eleven games of their regular season. Lilavois hopes his side will set the tone against Turlock .
"We're just looking forward to being in our own venue," he said. "We haven't had a home game in over five weeks, so everyone is really excited to be playing in front of our own fans. There's no doubt they will be loud and rowdy, and we'll do everything we can to get a win for them."
The highly anticipated rematch between Anaheim and Turlock is this coming Sunday, December 9, at 4 p.m. PT. Tickets for the contest start at $12 and may be purchased through Ticketmaster or the Anaheim Convention Center Arena box office. For more information, please call the Bolts front office at 714-321-9898 or the Anaheim Convention Center Arena at 714-765-8980.