Oscar Pareja didn’t hesitate to answer the question: Despite the draw and players missing because of injury or international call-ups, are people getting used to seeing Orlando City win?
In a game which ended 1-1 against New York City FC on Wednesday night at Exploria Stadium, the Orlando City head coach was quite blunt on answering that question.
“The players, the fans, the people, the press and the community are getting used to Orlando City winning… and that’s a good feeling,” Pareja said in Spanish. “Because sometimes the draws are not good enough, so it’s a good feeling to know we have arrived there but tonight, we couldn’t do it, and we’ll take the point with pride and defend the point which is important tonight.”
A stark, but true, statement from Pareja, who’s been able to impressively turnaround the club this year after five disappointing seasons (2015-2019) that’s seen Orlando miss out on the playoffs.
On Wednesday, the Lions extended their record unbeaten streak to 11 games, and the draw may have been the team’s toughest result within that stretch — though it’s worth noting Orlando was missing several players because of injury or national team call-ups.
But it may have been the sealing of a new standard for Orlando City under Pareja and his coaching staff.
“We are disappointed, of course, we did the 30 minutes good in the first half but then New York took over the game,” centerback Robin Jansson said post-game. “[And] they created and we lost ourselves a little bit, I felt, but it’s hard to find out what we did wrong.”
For goalkeeper Brian Rowe, who made his 100th professional start in his ninth season in MLS, Wednesday night’s match against NYCFC was a sturdy one.
“It was a tough game for us tonight,” said Rowe. “We definitely didn’t look ourselves, it’s a frustrating one especially to be at a home, a place that we’ve been able to dominate teams and first 30 minutes of the game started the game, getting that goal being all over them, getting close to getting that second one and then we kind of just let our foot off the pedal and we were on our heels for all the game. ”
“Se even though being off tonight I mean, it would have been great to get the three points but I think we’re okay escaping with the draw after that performance tonight.”
Here are some other notes from Wednesday’s match between Orlando and NYCFC:
Cash back depositing
Chris Mueller snapped a four-game scoring drought on Wednesday, scoring the opening goal in the 18th minute after heading a ball from Ruan to give the Lions the 1-0 lead against the Pigeons.
Mueller last scored on Sept. 19 during Orlando City’s 4-1 victory over the Chicago Fire at Exploria Stadium.
This season, Mueller has a career-high eight goals, six assists in 17 games for Orlando.
Ruan is back
After missing the last two games because of injury, Ruan returned to the Orlando City lineup on Wednesday.
The speedy right-back assisted on Mueller’s opening goal in the 18th minute after a dashing cut inside the box found Mueller to head the ball past Sean Johnson.
Ruan missed Orlando’s last two games after suffering an apparent hamstring injury during a 0-0 draw against FC Dallas on Sept. 27.
Homegrown makes MLS debut
Orlando City homegrown player Jordan Bender, 19, made his MLS debut on Wednesday, checking into the match in the 93rd minute of stoppage time for Daryl Dike.
The lineup for Orlando featured a solid group of four Homegrown players on the bench: Goalkeeper Mason Stajduhar (22-years-old), defender Michael Halliday (17), David Loera (22) and Bender.
Loera entered in the 76th minute for rookie Joey DeZart.
Rowe reaches milestone
Goalkeeper Brian Rowe earned his 100 MLS start on Wednesday for Orlando City.
The shot stopper produced 7 saves during Orlando’s 1-1 draw to New York City FC, including a 64th-minute save to deny NYCFC’s Taty Castellanos‘ header from close.https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js
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