Orlando City Notes: Pareja senses pressure on Inter Miami to win; weighs-in on fans at Exploria Stadium

Photo: Courtesy of Orlando City SC

Photo: Courtesy of Orlando City SC

Orlando City officially restarts the 2020 MLS regular season on the road this Saturday against Inter Miami at 8 p.m. on FOX 35 Plus.

After making a deep run to the final of the MLS is Back Tournament, Head Coach Oscar Pareja is set for his team to get back to action, but has made it a point that he will not be changing his approach to this weekend’s trip to South Florida when it comes to game preparation.

However, the Lions boss senses the team’s opponents may have excess pressure to finally win a game this year. To this point, Inter Miami have lost all five of their matches, including all three during the tournament restart.

“We always respect the opponent, first by training with our style of play and trying to give prevalence to our game,” Pareja said in Spanish during Thursday’s press call. “We know [Miami] are in an important position, especially since they’re a team that’s invested a lot of money, bringing in marquee players, so they have that responsibility.”

Orlando played Miami for the first time just last month, during its Group A opener of the MLS is Back Tournament, which the Lions won 2-1.

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Despite an early exit and still searching for their first win in 2020, Diego Alonso’s Inter Miami side made some roster changes since then, adding French midfielder Blaise Matuidi from Juventus, while having Argentine centreback Leandro Gonzalez Pirez finally available for selection after the former Atlanta United defender missed the restart due to visa processing.

But even those new additions aren’t changing Orlando plans heading into its match-up in Fort Lauderdale this weekend.

“We’re going to continue with our own responsibilities, and that’s playing well our game to get a result and keep growing as a team” added Pareja. “Without a doubt, we’re going to face a tough team. The investment Miami has made is incredible and they have a huge responsibility to win.”

Pareja on fans at stadium

Orlando City announced Wednesday that their upcoming home matches at Exploria Stadium during Phase 1 of the MLS restart will be open to fans at a limited capacity.

Pareja shared his thoughts on the proposed idea during Thursday’s media availability, adding some perspective on seeing fans at home games this season.

“It’s always good to have supporters at the stadium,” Pareja said in Spanish. “What we’ve heard so far is the initiative, and we’re just waiting on confirmation from each market. In our case, it would be marvelous to have fans at the stadium… whether we agree or not, I believe soccer without supporters is a lot difficult. With fans, things begin to feel like they have a sense of normality. but we still have to carry precautionary measures for the people since life is more important.”


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