Mike Gramajo is a beat writer covering Orlando City SC for MLSsoccer.com. You can view all of his stories written for MLSsoccer.com here.
It’s going to take some time to get the most out of Orlando City Designated Player Nani, Dom Dwyer told reporters following Sunday’s 2-1 loss at home to D.C. United.
The Portuguese winger has featured in all of Orlando’s first five games of the season, starting in four. Out of the six goals scored by the Lions this season, Nani has been involved in half of them, with three assists, including finding Chris Mueller to set up Dwyer’s goal against D.C.
While the former Manchester United player hasn’t opened his scoring account yet, Dwyer feels the best is yet to come from Nani.
“He’s just getting started,” said Dwyer. “He’s still learning the league. It’s very different, he’s got a lot of quality. We see it every day in training. He’s settling in, it’s going to take a little bit of time, but we just got to have more games together – the whole group.”
“I think you see there’s a lot of qualities, you see the group is beginning to gel and there’s a lot of positives to take from it," Dwyer continued. "I think if you look, D.C. is at the top of the standings right now, [but] we gave them a good game tonight.”
Nani, who captained the team for the fourth consecutive time, exited Sunday’s game for rookie Benji Michel in the 78th minute.
While Sunday’s game was billed as a Nani-Wayne Rooney Manchester United reunion, Rooney said he felt the bigger focus was on both teams and not the two marquee players.
Rooney, who scored and assisted Sunday night, said he wished Nani good luck after the final whistle but also insisted it’s going to take some time for the player to get adjusted to life in the United States.
“It’s good to see Nani and good to take the three points back to D.C.,” said Rooney. “He’s a fantastic player. I’m sure in the next few weeks he’ll show that even more when he gets used to things here, so I wish him good luck.”