Orlando City faces a stiff challenge against two formidable Western Conference teams this week.
For the second time this year, the Lions will play back-to-back games on the road, starting with Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday and FC Dallas on Sunday.
A challenging week that will require same day travel on game day for Orlando, but head coach Oscar Pareja is adamant ahead of a daunting task for his squad.
“We’re playing against the best two teams in the West,” Pareja told reporters during Monday’s media availability. “That means that we have a very high opposition. Challenges of traveling the same day is not easy, but it’s not easy for anybody, and also teams that come here as well, they have the same difficulties.”
Kickoff to Wednesday’s match is at 7:30 p.m. ET and will televise nationally on FS1.
“The proximity of the games is another challenge, and we are conscious about all those things,” he added. “But we’re blessed and we’re grateful to know that we have other competition in front of us and that we have 22 points [and] we are fighting for the high spots.”
Orlando (6-2-4) climbed to third in the Eastern Conference standings with 22 points following last weekend’s 4-1 victory over the Chicago Fire at Exploria Stadium.
Sporting KC (6-4-2) currently sits second in the West with 20 points, just a point below the Seattle Sounders, who sit atop their respective conference with 21. FC Dallas (5-2-4, 19 points) are currently in third place in that same conference.
Pareja did, however, praise Sporting KC head coach Peter Vermes for the way he’s turned around his club after a dismal 2019 season.
“Kansas City is a dominant team,” said Pareja. “Who during the years have established an idea of the game that is very typical or similar [and] has an identity with Peter in a 433, and always being aggressive and trying to press and those things, so we will know their ways to do things. For us, as always, we’ll try to be the protagonist as we always said. We want to compete and go for the win trying to get the three points.”
Matheus has arrived
The long wait for the arrival of Matheus Aiás is over.
Just asked HC Oscar Pareja about Aiás: The team is following protocols before he starts training, but Pareja says “we’re close.” Oscar also mentioned that Aiás was “very eager to start training.— Austin David (@AustinDavid22) September 21, 2020
“When you see that from the players, that is exciting.” https://t.co/5hESntcYdo
For more soccer news, follow the Soccer Journal on Twitter: @osjsoccer