After a long wait for his time to play, new Orlando City forward Matheus Aiás finally got a run out in Wednesday’s 4-1 victory over Atlanta United.
The 23-year-old attacker played 11 minutes, subbing into the game in the 79th minute for Daryl Dike, scoring Orlando’s fourth goal of the night at Exploria Stadium.
“After three months without playing, I got a few minutes, but I am very happy with the team,” Aias told reporters. “Today the professor [Oscar Pareja] allowed me to play more and I’m happy about that. It was a very important goal to me because it’s been some time since I have scored, I am very happy. I dedicate this goal to my girl because it’s her birthday. The truth is that I am even more happy about what the team did today, this great win was the most important thing.”
Aiás signed with Orlando back in August, but wasn’t medically cleared to train with the team until earlier this month.
The Brazilian previously appeared during last Saturday’s 2-1 loss to Inter Miami, making a short cameo in his first appearance for Orlando.
For head coach Oscar Pareja, deploying Aiás and recent signing Alexander Alvarado on Wednesday was just part of the integration process ahead of the club’s first-ever postseason appearance.
“It was good to have the opportunity to play them,” Pareja said on the pair. “It has been a very short period of preparation for them and trying to gel with the players and with the system, with the model or idea of the game.”
“Certainly we’re trying to shortcut things and provide to the players the opportunity to gel together with us and today was good,” he added. “I’m happy for that opportunity that they had to perform and not just them, I hope that in the next three games we can bring the youngsters too that are waiting and they’re working hard.”
How Aias is adjusting
Aias confirmed with reporters after Wednesday’s game that teammate and fellow compatriot Junior Urso has been helping him adjust to living in Central Florida.
“I was able to meet [Júnior] Urso over text messages and before I even got here I was messaging with some of the Brazilian guys,” said Aiás in Spanish. “It’s easy to come into a group when you get there and everyone is just accepting you and helping bring you into the group, so it makes it really easy to adapt to this team and the situation.”
“These guys have been great, it’s a pleasure to share the field with some of the greatest names in football and some of the up-and-comers around Nani, Urso and Antonio Carlos as well. It’s been great and I’m loving it.”
Aiás also noted the unique environment that Pareja has cemented within the team, which is helping him rediscover his form.
“The truth is that Oscar is very close to us, he explains in detail what we have to do,” said Aiás. “The environment and the players made my adaptation easy because there are a lot of Brazilians, South Americans who speak Spanish, and some players who I already knew. Little by little I’m getting the rhythm back during training, I believe I need to get better because of the time that I was away from the pitch but with time the rhythm will be back. ”
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