ORLANDO, Fla. -- Next stop: Monterrey, Mexico.
Ahead of its opening leg of Concacaf Champions League play at Liga MX side Tigres UANL on Tuesday night, Orlando City earned a hard-fought point Saturday in a 0-0 draw against FC Cincinnati before 18,062 fans at Exploria Stadium.
“Under the circumstances and obviously with the good rival we had in front of us, the guys put in the performance and competed, and we are proud," Orlando City head coach Oscar Pareja said.
"We are proud and we are happy to get the result. At home we need to win, but this team needs to be balanced with things. When we cannot win it, we just need to get the result and work out with the point."
Pedro Gallese continued his strong start to the season against FCC, earning Heineken Star of the Match honors after making four saves for his second consecutive clean sheet.
César Araújo provided the lone shot on target for Orlando City (1-0-1, 4 points) in the 67th minute.
"We know especially with a team that has a lot of volume this past three years, and there's a number that we're aiming to improve" Pareja said of the team's offensive attack. "Today is probably similar to the New York game was with not much volume and getting passes in the box. It is something we need to get better at. I think it is the collective thinking stages, calling the new ones, I think we need to collectively just get better in the last third."
Defender Abdi Salim and midfielder Gastón González each made their Orlando debut in the match -- both starts -- while Dagur Dan Thórhallsson earned his first MLS start after coming off the bench a week ago.
Selected at No. 17 overall in the 2023 MLS SuperDraft out of Syracuse University, Salim held down the back line pairing with Rodrigo Schlegel in the first half and Robin Jansson in the second. For González, it served as his first professional minutes since suffering a torn ACL less than a year ago.
“First and foremost, I just want to thank the coaching staff regarding this opportunity," Salim said. "I wouldn't say perfect, but it went well. Clean sheet, good performance by me and as a team, so I can't complain.”
100 for El Capitán | Mauricio Pereyra reaches the century mark in appearances with Orlando
Before the match, Orlando City honored captain Mauricio Pereyra for his 100th career appearance with the club, presenting him with a framed No. 100 jersey for his milestone.
After its trip to Tigres, Orlando will face D.C. United in its first MLS road match of the season next Saturday at Audi Field before returning home to Exploria Stadium for the second leg of CCL on Wednesday, March 15. Tickets and more information about the match can be found by clicking here.
"There were a lot of positive things that we recognized tonight, especially the players that are new with the team and making us better. We are proud," Pareja said. "We will get ready now for our travel (to Monterrey) tomorrow and represent our city and our Club in an international competition on Tuesday.”
Orlando City hits the road to face Tigres UANL of Liga MX at Estadio Universitario in Monterrey, Mexico for the first leg of Concacaf Champions League play on Tuesday at 10 p.m. (TV: FS2; TUDN).
Best photos from the match
Concacaf Champions League
Secure your seats to see Orlando City battle Tigres UANL in the Concacaf Champions League at Exploria Stadium on Wednesday, March 15th.