Orlando City

Orlando City coach Oscar Pareja: Big win over Union 'says a lot about the character of this group'

Orlando City head coach Oscar Pareja

On the importance of scoring the two early goals 

“Obviously important to score early in the game. That just gave us confidence for sure against a rival that is very strong at home. We know about their verticality and their volume going forward, but leading the score and having those consecutive goals, that for sure just gave us confidence during the game. It was very important for us.” 

On his tactics against the Union 

“I think in the first half we controlled the game. Not just in the transition, but I think in the middle of the field, I think we were much better there. Second half, knowing that we were leading the game and Philadelphia pushed ahead their structure and started just getting more players forward, we understood that those spaces were going to be created. [It was] not easy to sustain it with that pressure, but we found ways. We could have scored two or three goals more in the second half also, so the match was very well played by the players.”  

On breaking the Philadelphia’s unbeaten run at home
“I think it says a lot about the character of this group. It was not an easy moment after we lost at home against Charlotte in a game that we could have easily changed the story of that result, especially in the second half. But the game shows us that every game just shows a different story. Today we come up against a very hard opponent, especially at home as you guys remark. A team who has not lost at home for so many games. A team that I respect a lot and especially its coach, but today we came with character, and we needed to bounce back from not just that result, but we needed to play well. That remarks or highlights even more the performance of our team today.”

Orlando City midfielder Felipe Martins

Thoughts on the match

“I think we came to a difficult place with a great game plan. We knew exactly how we wanted to play, the way we wanted to defend, and I think our individual efforts made a difference, but the group is always the strength. I think tonight we showed that we are a team that can play."

On the importance of setting the tone early

“I think especially in MLS the start of each half and the end of each half is where most of the games are decided and I think as always, we need to start on the front foot. We need to impose our game, we need to defend well and set the tone and I think that's what we did in a difficult place. It's been a long time since Philadelphia has lost at home, but again it just was a great job. Everyone with a great game plan and I think that it's slowly showing that we are a team that is more together than ever. I think we have a clearer understanding of what we want to do and we are just glad that tonight we showed that.”

On how they were able to pull the Philadelphia defense out of position

“Again every single day this week, we knew exactly where we wanted to attack, the way we wanted to attack. And again, I think the most beautiful thing tonight was that we won in a way that we trained, in a way that we planned for this game. We were able to find the pockets and in our moments in behind, the synchronizing was very good. I think our front four had an amazing game with different moves that, especially in that position to give the final pass when you have players with a quality like Romero [Enrique] and [Martín] Ojeda up there, it's a difficult task for the defense. Again, it's a great effort for everyone, but we train every single day, and we knew exactly what we wanted to do, and we showed that tonight.”