Orlando City

💬 Oscar Pareja: 'We are very proud of belonging to this City' in clinching home win over New England Revolution

Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja

Opening statement 

“First on behalf of our players, coaching staff and directors and I am very sure from the whole Club, thank you guys so much for following this season. Thank you for being around the team and linking us with the fans and the community. This season, even in the moments where there was a maybe a storm, you guys were very objective and that pushed us too. Thank you for being so professional and I think this belongs to all of us. We are very proud of belonging to this City, belonging to this community and taking this team to second place and Concacaf [Champions Cup] again. We have a long journey still to go. The players know and the game today was a reflection of what we are. A very difficult game against New England, that first half was difficult, but we responded very well and scored goals. Second half, if we had better finishing then we would probably increase our goals and be more efficient and lethal. I thought we played probably with too much responsibility to get the job done and get the game done which tied us a little bit in conceding that second goal. I am proud of them. I am proud because they know they can relax themselves a little more. There are still a lot of things to do, but today we beat New England which is not an easy task. This journey in the last three weeks has been a lot of games and the boys responded well. Again, thanks to you and congratulations to the players.” 

On adjusting to New England early on in the match 

“New England in the first 20 minutes, their positions were longer, and we found it difficult to get the ball back and we couldn’t find the chemistry when we would get it back and it feels like we were uncomfortable. The plan that I had in the first 15 minutes was not working and then we let [Rafael Santos] go and changed our structure in the back when we had the ball and immediately the boys felt much more comfortable. They started creating dangerous crosses and plays and I felt like they felt like themselves again. We readapted the game in that moment and in the last 25 minutes of the first half we were very good. Second half as well, I thought we played well but New England changed their structure in the difference of three players and we had some challenged defending their wing backs. When we had the chances to score, we should have been more lethal, and we may not finish with the sensation that we could have done better, but you are right, in the first 15 minutes it was hard.” 

On scoring three goals in first half 

“It is much better if we can be much sharper and produce those emotions for the fans and ourselves. If we can recreate what we had in the last 15 or 20 minutes in the first half, we can have in the first part of the game. We couldn’t play the way we wanted and New England did in those first few minutes. It just cost us a little bit on readapting the gameplan. [Rafael Santos] got deeper and we got a lot of volume on the left and got a couple crosses. Iván [Angulo] and Facu [Torres] were not finishing out on the wing, but they were finishing inside the box and that produced those three goals and also with Duncan [McGuire] being so lethal in the play. There are good things, and we are still getting through our emotions. We need to recap the game and see those things that can make us even better competitors for the playoffs.”

Orlando City SC Forward Duncan McGuire

On scoring the first goal of the night

“There was definitely a good build up on the play. We had possession for a little bit, and we stretched out the defense. Dagur [Dan Thórhallsson] got his head up [on the ball]. We talked before the game on the kind of delivery I wanted from him, and he gave me exactly that. It was a great ball from Dagur, he made it easy for me.”

On what has worked for the team since playing in Leagues Cup

“We’ve just been expecting more from each other every day. At practice, we've been demanding more and more of each other as the day goes on. We’ve seen what we can do in games, and we can score a lot of goals. We made that the standard and we've been holding each other to high standards every week. I think that's what's been carrying us through in making us successful over the past couple of games.”

On what changed after the first 15 minutes of the match

“We definitely had to switch tactics that allowed me to play with a bit more height and allow Robin [Jansson] and Rodrigo [Schlegel] to stay back. We had more space open up for one another up top and it allowed for more playing amongst each other. It was definitely a good call and it benefited us.”

Orlando City SC Midfielder Iván Angulo

On what he saw on his goal 

“First off, very happy for the goal and the assist, we knew coming into this game the importance of this game and coming out right from the very first minute with this being our last home game of the regular season. We knew we had to come out firing on all cylinders. On the goal, I’m happy that my teammates found me, obviously happy for the assist, but now we have to continue working to enter playoffs in a good moment as well.” 

On what is working for the group and why they have looked like the protagonist on the pitch 

“We’ve done really well these last 10 games, and I think it’s part of the coaching staff, the way they’ve prepared us, and the confidence they have in the way that we play. We have talented players that execute the way they want to play. I’m obviously happy about that and I’m proud of this group. We are a very united group, and we have a lot of confidence in ourselves, and we continue to push.” 

On the importance of being able to rest on Wednesday to have energy for tonight's match 

“I think it was very important, before Wednesday’s game I had one of my feet bothering me a little bit, so I had a chance to rest that and Oscar [Pareja] gave me that chance to rest a little bit of that, so I think it was very important from that front, but also from the front of getting a little bit more energy and being able to come into this game at full speed.”

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Audi 2023 MLS Cup Playoff vs Columbus Crew

Our Audi 2023 MLS Cup Playoff tickets for our Eastern Conference Semifinal matchup against the Columbus Crew, presented by Publix, on Nov. 25 at 5:30 p.m. ET are live!