Ahead of Wednesday's Concacaf Champions League rematch with Tigres at Exploria Stadium, Orlando City head coach Oscar Pareja and defender Robin Jansson spoke to reporters to discuss the second leg ...
Head Coach Oscar Pareja
On how the team is feeling with a busy schedule recently
The first message for the players, knowing the competition that we will have in front of us and during our preseason preparation, it was that we will have no excuses. This is the way the calendar is, this is the way schedule is, and is not just for us but for everybody. So yeah, we must be ready. We have used a lot of players in the last few games too, trying to accommodate the loads in trainings and obviously just try to keep the team the best possible, in terms of the fitness, and so we're with this mode of no excuses. We’ve got to be ready.
On knowing the game is win-and-advance
We [coaches] have seen and have the experience in this leg of these competitions where you have to see the whole 180 minutes. We already played 90 [minutes]. Now we have the other ones here at home. It's the competition, it's like that. It's good that we are not going to extend this, we'll go 90, we gotta win, we must win the game. We know that we have this opportunity that probably many people before, when they thought about this leg being played and Tigres in Orlando, that maybe it was not a lot, an illusion. But after the play that we had in Monterrey, I think that we are, and not just we but our fans and the people and our rivals, are thinking that this is not going to be an easy [game]. And we'll be ready for our game here, our match here at home. It is important to have it here in Orlando, of course, in front of our fans. But, as I said, it is 180 minutes and we will be ready for that.
On what having Orlando in the Champions League says about the Club
I think our fans should be proud in these three years we have brought here important games. We played the final in MLS is Back [tournament] and I remember that one game because it was a final. And then we have matches with the playoffs, already, during these three years. Important matches, that means a lot because there is playing and staying or going. And then we play the final, as well, of the [U.S. Open] Cup, and now we are in front of our first international game for the franchise and our fans. We went to Monterrey and we set a tone that we are here. We're on the map, Orlando is on the map and now people are respecting this opportunity and we're proud of that. Now we need to come and just match them [Tigres] up and then try to advance.
Concacaf Champions League: Series shifts stateside as Orlando City prepares to host Tigres
Defender Robin Jansson
On how the locker room is feeling in this moment
Everything is great. The team has been looking forward to this game for a while now. And we're just ready to get out there and get everything from the game. Had a good, light training [Tuesday] morning and just being prepared for the game. So we're feeling great and are ready to go out there and fight.
On if the team is aware of the magnitude of the match
Yes, we're 100% ready and we know that [this] is a big game. And as I said before, we're just very ready for it. And we're happy to make it to the Champions [League} and just taking it from there. We trying to be humble, doing our work on the field and then, hopefully together, we get a good game tomorrow and can bring a good result and advance and then keep going. And that's our goal. We don't want to have this as our last game in the Champions [League] this year, we want to make it to the next stage. So that means that we're going to have to go out there tomorrow, having a strong game because we are facing a good side. But we are we are very optimistic.
On the importance of the fan and atmosphere for the match
I mean, our fans are the 12th player, bringing us the extra energy we need in in both good and bad times. And tomorrow is the first time ever playing the Champions [League], Orlando City at Exploria Stadium in front of our fans. So hopefully tomorrow all the seats here at Exploria is filled up and cheering us on, and we're going to try to take their energy to the field and then do something good about it.