It was a tough first day for Abe Valbuena and Orlando City in the inagural eMLS Cup. After two thrilling draws against PhilB94 of Toronto FC, Orlando City was only able to secure one point out of the next four matches against New York Red Bulls and NYCFC. The current standings can be seen here.
The good news? 8 teams will qualify out of the Eastern Conference for the eMLS Playoffs, so Abe and Orlando City only need to climb one spot to be right back in the mix. Abe also has two games in hand on JKO1707 of New England, who he is currently tied on points with.
We asked Abe a few questions about the day.
Q: Overall thoughts on day one of eMLS Cup?
Abe: First and foremost the atmosphere is incredible. The league did an amazing job setting this up and everything was on time. Day one was a lot of fun and I bet day 2 will be even better.
Q: Which match of your 6 was the most intense today?
Abe: The match vs NY Red Bull’s where I equalized very late on.
Q: What needs to happen for you on day 2 to make the playoffs?
Abe: I need to stay focused. I Can’t lose any points against New England. Just need to play my game
Q: Gareth Bale was your high goalscorer today. What made him so effective?
Abe: The man has insane pace. He can out run just about anybody and has a killer finish as well.
Q: You were able to stop two PK's on the day. What was your strategy?
Abe: It’s a well known trick in the FIFA community to shoot the ball low to the keeper’s right. It’s a weird shot to save and it might sometimes skip through the keeper. Move to the left with keeper, and diving low right gives the keeper a chance to get his hands on it.