With the opportunity to go atop the Eastern Conference standings with a win on Saturday, Orlando City was left disappointed following their 1-1 draw against New York City FC at Exploria Stadium.
The result — Orlando’s third tie in four games — may have kept the Lions unbeaten so far, but for head coach Oscar Pareja there was an underwhelming feeling moments after the match, especially after being the dominant side for much of the 90 minutes.
“It was a game well played, I liked it a lot because we showed initiative to play and impose our ways, I feel we could have secured the result and that’s what leaves us a bit disappointing to not win at home,” Pareja said in Spanish after the game.
“We played against a difficult rival, a rival that does things good, They have very technical players, they have a clear style of play,” he added. “The games we’ve played against New York, I think this is the best game we’ve played against them without a doubt… but today we played well.”
Orlando outshot New York City 11-9, and even controlled 57.1% possession of the ball, but it still wasn’t enough to muster the much-needed second goal to secure the victory.
Nani may have scored his third goal in three games to help secure the one point on Saturday, but even the Orlando City captain wasn’t content with how the game panned out.
“I feel very disappointed, like everyone in the team,” Nani said. “We performed very well against a very good team, and I think we deserved to win this game. Unfortunately we couldn’t win in the end, but we have to highlight the good performance of the team. But obviously we are very disappointed with the result because we are very ambitious at this moment. We want to improve, we want to get our victories, and we have to be not-happy with the result.”
Orlando City (1-0-3, 6 points) currently sits in fourth place in East and travels to take on D.C. United on Saturday at Audi Field at 2 p.m. The match will be televised on FOX 35 Plus and LionNation TV.
Here are some more Notes & Takeaways from Saturday’s match against NYCFC
Moutinho’s second-half impact
Fullback João Moutinho saw significant minutes on Saturday after coming into the game at halftime for an injured Ruan.
Pareja said he wasn’t expecting to deploy Moutinho that early on in the match, but the left back had an immediate impact early on in the second half, helping orchestrate Nani’s goal. The fullback’s overlapping run on the left side of the pitch, which pulled back NYCFC defender Maxime Chanot, opened up the needed space for Nani to strike the ball from outside the area for the opening goal in the 52nd minute.
“He’s been showing good performances… today one more good performance,” Nani said on Moutinho. “Yes, we are happy and we want everyone ready to play, we want everyone ready to support each other. That’s the way we’re going to make a strong team, and a strong group.”
Pareja was left pleased on his fullbacks performance as well.
“João not only competed but did a great job because the team in that sequence grows a lot,” said Pareja on Moutinho. “He participates highly in our positive sequences, with what he did for Nani on the left, it’s a product of the quality that he brings to combine with Nani and Mauricio Pereyra.”
The Orlando City captain recorded his third goal in three games, opening up the scoring in the 52nd minute.
For the third consecutive game, it was another thrilling strike from the Portuguese attacker. His backheel vs Sporting Kansas City and his left footed curler vs FC Cincinnati have been top highlights thus far this season.
Gallese with massive stops
The Orlando City goalkeeper made three crucial saves on Saturday, but it was the third and final one that denied NYCFC the late winner and salvaged the draw for the Lions, deep into stoppage time.
Check out this photo reel of Gallese denying Jesus Medina the potential stoppage-time winner.
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