With one day to prepare, Orlando City’s James O’Connor focuses on Open Cup clash with New York City FC


Photo: Terrance Coakley / Orlando Soccer Journal

James O’Connor didn’t want to talk much about Orlando City’s long weekend on the road.

The Lions were originally scheduled to take on the Philadelphia Union on Saturday, but severe weather postponed the game to Sunday instead as Orlando played to a 2-2 draw at Talen Energy Stadium.

On Monday, plane troubles brought even further delays for Orlando, according to a report from Pro Soccer USA

O’Connor said it wasn’t ideal, but he’s looking to get past that with only a day to prepare for Wednesday’s quarterfinal Open Cup match against New York City FC at Exploria Stadium at 7:30 p.m. ET.

“I’m not going to get involved, I think everyone has seen what’s gone on,” O’Connor said.  “Obviously we got back sort of yesterday late, so I’m not going to be getting involved in all that, we need to focus on the game. We need to just make sure that we’re dialed into our preparation and make sure we’re ready for what will be a tough game.”

Orlando’s starting lineup from Sunday’s game against the Union, except for goalkeeper Brian Rowe, trained inside the Sylvan Lake Park training facility, a team spokesperson told the OSJ.

Orlando is currently in the midst of a long stretch of games, having played two games so far in a matter of five days. For the Lions this week, however, training especially ahead of Wednesday’s game, is focused on recovery.

“We just need to make sure that we get the recovery,” he added. “It’s not ideal getting bumped to this Sunday and obviously trying to get back. So I think for us is making sure the recovery is on point and maybe go through some video on [New York City FC].”

Left-back João Moutinho, who’s recovering from a hamstring injury, is still a doubt for Wednesday’s game against NYCFC. O’Connor said he’s hopeful he’ll see the training grounds on Tuesday but added it’s too much of a risk to play him that soon. 

Forward Tesho Akindele, who did not travel this past weekend with the team, said the travel delay shouldn’t affect how the team prepares, but also mentioned delays shouldn’t be used as an excuse.

“I don’t think it affects it too much,” said Akindele. “New York City played on Sunday as well in New York, so they’re kind of going through the same thing that we are. So I don’t think it’s something that we can look at as an excuse right now.”

Wednesday’s Open Cup match will stream on ESPN+ and tickets are still available to purchase.

For more soccer news, follow the Soccer Journal on Twitter: @OSJSoccer



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