Ahead of Sunday’s Eastern Conference bout at Red Bull Arena, Orlando City coach Oscar Pareja said he wants one thing besides a victory over the New York Red Bulls: A return to playing their usual possessive-attacking style of soccer.
Kickoff for the match is slated for 7 p.m. and will televise locally on FOX 35 Plus.
“One always wants to, it’s an objective of ours to be able to dominate the games,” Pareja told reporters on Friday. “Not only be the protagonist that we’ve been preaching about all year but to be the superior team in possession and have the ball more often.”
For Orlando (8-2-7, 31 points), its sudden slip in possession began on Oct. 3, coincidentally, against the Red Bulls in a 3-1 victory at Exploria Stadium.
The Lions won the possessional battle, but in the second half of that match, Orlando lost the ball quite often against the Red Bulls.
The next two games that followed against Atlanta United on Oct. 17 and most recently against New York City FC last weekend, saw Orlando City lose the possession battle — both games which ended in draws.
“In the first half against Red Bulls, we had more possession of the ball, and in the second half they had more possession of the ball, so it’s a bit strange that we haven’t been able to hold on to possession,” added Pareja.
“New York is a really good team, they were better than us in that second half, so we hope to return to dominating the ball like we’ve always had — that’s what we want to do. It’s not easy because the other teams play well too.”
Matheus good to go
After signing with Orlando City in August, the club announced on Friday that forward Matheus Aias was medically cleared to start full-team training.
“Matheus is very close, I say that if we don’t have him cleared for New York, we would have him for the next one [vs. Inter Miami, Oct. 24],” said Pareja on when Aias would be available for selection.
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