Orlando City not letting past performances deter approach against New York Red Bulls

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Josue Colman, center right, during training on March 20, 2019 (Photo by Mike Gramajo / Orlando Soccer Journal).

Orlando City coach James O’Connor doesn’t want last weekend’s performance against the Montreal Impact to play an influence on how the team approaches Saturday’s game against the New York Red Bulls.

The Lions take on the 2018 Supporters’ Shield winners at Red Bull Arena at 7:30 p.m., but the Orlando boss emphasized the importance of not letting one game deter the club’s mission that was set during the preseason.

“I think the biggest thing for us is to make sure the players don’t get too down over one performance because when we look at the course of the preseason, and we look at the course of the first two games, the energy and the enthusiasm from not just the players but everybody around the place, was really positive,” O’Connor said before Wednesday’s training session.

“I refuse to let one game now take that away. And I think the danger is because you have something like that, it becomes bigger than it needs to be.”

Orlando City (0-1-2, two points) fell 3-1 to the Impact last Saturday at Orlando City Stadium to remain winless three weeks into the 2019 MLS campaign.

Two goals within 90 seconds early in the first half and Will Johnson leaving the game within the first 20 minutes due to concussion protocol had a literal impact to the game, O’Connor said.

But amongst the positives, he saw the number of chances the team created despite not being able to capitalize on all of them.

“Look, it obviously had an impact,” he said. “When you look at the game, we made it very difficult for ourselves for that 90-second period where we gave them two goals. I think in any games when you give up two goals in a 90-second period, it becomes harder.”

“The players do deserve credit for the amount of chances we created after that,” O’Connor added. “When you look at the volume of chances we’ve had after that, we still should have been able to take away a couple more of those chances.”

Chris Mueller, who played the entire game and had an assist last weekend against Montreal, said the team has responded positively this week in training, saying it’s not the time to look down this early in the season.

“It’s been positive,” said Mueller. “We’ve come out, we’re trying to get a little bit of work in every day and just continue to add on what we’ve been building. We don’t want to get down on ourselves and negative already at this point of the season. It’s not time for any of that. We need to continue to look forward and continue to build on what the positives were and take it from there and hopefully, the results will start to fall our way.

The Lions are still in search for their first win of the season, but Mueller said the team needs to show positive character heading into Red Bull Arena.

“I think the most important thing is just that we get a good result,” said Mueller. “I think that’s most important, especially in this time, we’re still seeking out that first win. Kind of had some unfortunate results in the first couple games, but we need to show some character and respond to adversity in a good way.”

Notes from Training 

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Center back Robin Jansson training with Orlando City on March 20, 2019 (Photo by Mike Gramajo / Orlando Soccer Journal). 

Swedish center back Robin Jansson, who signed with the Lions last week, continues to train with Orlando but is still awaiting his paperwork to get processed. O’Connor said he’s hoping Jansson is cleared before the weekend so he can be available for selection.

Will Johnson did not train on Tuesday. O’Connor confirmed he still hasn’t been cleared from concussion protocol.


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