Notebook: Preseason matches; Pato fitting in; van der Water update; goalkeeper competition

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Courtesy of Orlando City SC

Following their latest preseason friendly against New York City FC, Orlando City head coach Oscar Pareja addressed the media on Friday afternoon hitting on a myriad of topics.

He spoke on Daryl Dike‘s current stint on loan to English Championship side Barnsley, updates on the arrival of Silvester van der Water, the expectations of the first weeks of preseason and how new forward Alexandre Pato has fit into the team through the first week. Here’s a rundown of highlights from the availability:

On Dike’s loan and expectatitons

Daryl Dike bagged a brace this past week with Barnsley this week in the Championship side’s 3-1 victory over Wycome Wanderers. Barnsley have won nine of their last 10 since Dike’s arrival, while the striker has bagged five goals in nine games.

Pareja said that “We are very happy for him…I think he will make a good return on the experiences that we need him to acquire there, so we were very happy with this possibility. Now, there have been rumors of interest and things like that. We knew that would happen, But at this point, we’re just enjoying watching one more American succeeding in Europe in a very competitive league. I think he shows the whole world how much talent we have here and we are very proud of that.

“Daryl’s return is in the schedule. We’ll see what happens from here on. We will keep preparing without him, but we also wait on the days that he should be here with the group.”

Barnsley’s final game is scheduled for May 8, unless the Championship side finishes in the top six, which would put them in the playoffs for the final Premier League promotion spot.

Waiting on van der Water

The Lions are still waiting on Silvester van der Water to join the team. With Pato joining last week, van der Water is the only player that has not joined the team for preseason.

“We’re still waiting some documents that need to go to embassies and get the green light for him to come,” Pareja said. “I’m not worried about his fitness or anything like that, since he had been playing. So, I think he basically will adjust to a time very easily.”

Once he arrives, the Dutch winger would be required to quarantine for seven days upon arriving before being eligible to actually train with the team under MLS COVID-19 protocol.

Preseason friendlies

Now with two games in the books through the first two weeks of preseason, Oscar Pareja is feeling good about his team. Specifically, a number of the younger players that were able to get minutes over the last few weeks

“The main objective in the last two games were to see more of the youngsters,” Pareja said. “Normally, the beginning of the preseason, we have a lot of work with the team. Now it allows a lot of us to have more time for the guys who come to preseason from the academy and, mainly was just getting more repetitions, at the same time, trying to get to see the new ones in this case.

“Yesterday we saw Pato for example, in the second half. And they started just getting some rhythm. There are some players who are doing some different works. Yesterday’s game was very challenging for both teams so we were very similar to reality of the competition, so we’re good.”

Pato playing and scoring

Less than a week after joining the team for preseason, Alexandre Pato is already playing and scoring for the Lions. In Wednesday’s 3-2 loss to NYCFC, Pato played the second half and scored off a Chris Mueller assist.

“His attitude has been very good, tremendous, professional,” Pareja said. “He asked us to get involved in the game and we considered it was a good moment to give him some minutes in the second half. He came in, and not just played well but scored a goal. So this made us even more optimistic about what he can contribute with the team. Which is, as a good start. Hopefully in the next weeks we can work him up on his fitness and adjust into the game model. And that way he can be even more important.”

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