Notes from training: Orlando City ready for showdown with Atlanta United


SANFORD — Friday’s derby between Orlando City and Atlanta United is just days away.

Both clubs meet for the first time at Orlando City Stadium at 7 p.m., and Lions head coach Jason Kreis has an idea of what’s to expect from the visiting expansion side.

“Atlanta is an extremely dangerous, dynamic, attacking team with some really, really good option. Their four players that play the highest up the field for them are very dangerous,” Kreis told reporters on Wednesday. “They’re very attack oriented, very aggressive group, but they are not perfect. They have some problems of their own, which we will be looking to exploit.”

The Lions will be without team-leading goal scorer Cyle Larin, who was called up by the Canadian national team ahead of Thursday’s Gold Cup match against Jamaica. Kreis told reporters, the team had a heads-up and anticipated losing Larin ahead of Friday’s game.

Atlanta’s first year in Major League Soccer has started off well. Their current run of form has the expansion team sitting in fourth place in the Eastern Conference standings with 30 points, one point above Orlando, which sits in fifth place with 29 points.

Atlanta boasts the best offense in MLS with a league-high 39 goals scored. Their form in their last 10 games: 6-3-1. Orlando’s record in its last 10 games, however: 2-4-4.

But for Kreis, Atlanta’s early-season success is far from being decided.

“As I think we’re all playing a little bit victim to the way Atlanta has done so far,” said Kreis. “The job is not done. Our job is not done, and their job is not done, so I don’t think the judging should be now.”

Here are some other notes from Wednesday’s training session at Sylvan Lake Park:

Kreis marks one year with Lions 

Exactly one year ago, Orlando City announced Jason Kreis as its new head coach.

The Orlando City bossman spoke with members of the press on Wednesday on how he feels about living and working in Orlando.

“Really pleased and happy both in my job, head coach of this team, as well as community member of this city,” said Kreis. “Really pleased to be here and my family has adjusted really well, and we couldn’t be really happier with our lives outside of the job. And inside of the job, it’s been really good

“Has it been great? No. Would I have liked it to be a little bit better? Yes, if you’re talking strictly about results, but I think we can still say we’re in a positive place. We can still say the team has improved, and we still have a lot in front of us this year,” added Kreis.

Nocerino to be a father, again 

And for the fourth time, Orlando midfielder Antonio Nocerino is having a new addition to his family.

The Italian made the announcement on Instagram on Tuesday, and shared his feelings on being a father for the fourth time.

“I’m very happy because my family is happy, and my wife is good, and that’s very important,” said Nocerino. “I’m happy when you have the possibility to have a baby… I like to have my kids at the house.”

Nocerino said his family is still thinking of a name for the newborn. The 32-year-old has a tattoo on his lower-right thigh of four characters depicting a family holding hands, and said an additional character will be added once the baby is born.

(Photo Courtesy of Orlando City) 

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