Orlando City

They said it: Oscar Pareja, David Brekalo and Rafael Santos react to scoreless draw in home opener 

Orlando City head coach Oscar Pareja

Opening Statement 

“This was a very intense game for both teams. In the first half, I thought it was a little rough and rocky for us, we couldn’t find the sequences that we normally found and the way we play. We found a team that was trying to get by with speed and the wings and break our pressure. But when we had the ball we couldn't just create sequences that got us much closer to the goal. The first half, we came and spoke about it and decided to make some changes in how we wanted to face the second half. Much better, the second half much better. I thought it looked more like us, and we created the options to score. And not being so clean but we respect the job that Montreal did as well because they put their team in the much lower block in the second half. They have a couple attempts to move forward. I think we dominated, but not being so clean so we take the point. I think we have big expectations; I want us all to know this is a long trip and we have to know how to navigate. It’s not like we’re going to score four goals in every single game. This is a process, and we’ll take the tie today. The boys came from a long trip from Canada, and probably in the first half we didn’t have the energy, but in the second half we looked much more like us. So, I’ll take the point, and the boys will move on and get ready for the next match.”  

On not being able to find the connection between the players in tonight’s game 

“We made a couple of changes in the way we structured our team in the first half just because of the way Montreal plays and we couldn’t find space. We had the ball, but it wasn’t an advantage getting into the next third or putting them in the lower block in their defensive third. We were slow to take our team there. So, it was much more part of the strategy that I had that didn’t work in the first part of the game.” 

On how he approached recovery and starting decisions for this match 

“We didn’t have too much time to train after our game in Canada. But it’s not that we didn’t know what we needed to do today. We were fine. The two days that we had, one do the regen and the other to plan our game today and try to get those bodies recovered. But we’re young, we’re good. I'm not making excuses; we should probably win it and probably have a better performance in the first half especially. But as I said, I cannot just stay with the first half images. The second half is back to our level. It would be much better with three points of course, it's what the game brought us today and we’ll take it.”

Orlando City defender David Brekalo

On what it was like playing in his first match as a Lion 

“First, I would like to thank my coaches, teammates and the staff here at the Club. It felt really good to get out there and officially make my first appearance with the Club. I just wanted to keep it simple today with my touches, passes and my own style of play. I feel like I’ll get more comfortable with more games that are upcoming in the season as that will give more time to adapt to my teammates, the style of play and the technique within the Club. I’m usually more better within myself and my style of play, but yet again it was my first game, and I was still learning to adjust. Things will get better over time, and I will get better over time.” 

On working his way into the team 

“The most important thing to do at the end of the day, for any athlete at this level, is always to continue working hard day in and day out with the team. Being there is the most important thing at the end of the day, and putting the hard workday in and day out will always have you prepared when that piece of paperwork does come through at the end. The most frustrating thing is the mental effect of doubt, as if I’m going to be selected in the squad one day and not being selected in the squad the next day. At the end of the day, I must keep a strong head on my shoulders, stay focused, and concentrate. As I’m happy that my paperwork ended up coming In and that I was available for selection today.” 

On the level of competition in Major League Soccer 

“I honestly didn’t know a lot about Major League Soccer before I got here as a lot of my information came from lots of friends that have played in Major League Soccer over the years. They told me that this was the highest level of soccer in the United States that featured a high intensity and competition as that’s something I have always enjoyed. I’m also very pleased with All the training facilities the league offers and the grass pitch we play on. As over the process of my career, my body has been used to playing on turf. At the end of the day, I had a really good first impression, as it was a good game overall and I’m excited for what’s to come for the rest of the season.”

Orlando City defender Rafael Santos 

Opening statement 

“That game did not turn out the way that we wanted. We wanted the win. We unfortunately weren't able to do that. We did get the draw, which is better than a loss, but we again wanted the win. It was a tough game after coming from another tough game [Wednesday in Canada] and a very long voyage. But these aren't excuses. We leave frustrated from this game because again, we wanted to win we were always looking for the opportunity to score a goal, we had our chances. But we're going to continue to look ahead because the tournament is long, and we know that we'll get opportunities moving ahead.” 

On positives and negatives from the team’s performance

“We weren't expecting them [Montreal] to be so compact. We were expecting them to play a little bit more open and they were very compact. It was very difficult to find spaces and opportunities within the tight areas that they were creating. That's why we found it so difficult to score a goal. We wanted the goal, we had a couple of opportunities to score the goal and in other games, those opportunities would result in a goal, and it felt like tonight that just wasn't happening. We have to have our heads held high, we know that the [season] is long. This game has already passed. It's a draw and now we look ahead to continue to pick up points and rise in the table.” 

On handling tactical changes Oscar made throughout the game

“We are just very prepared, regardless of who is playing and who's going to come in. We know what we have to do. In training sessions we are constantly rotating the teams when we play. As you guys know, there's not a lot of time to think but in those small moments where pieces are changing, we all know what we have to do regardless of if it's Nico [Lodeiro] or Felipe or Facu[ndo Torres], everyone knows what they have to do, myself and Wilder [Cartagena] we communicate a lot. We're constantly talking throughout the match, and everyone knows their role. [Head Coach] Oscar [Pareja] does a really good job at leaving everything very well planned out. Communication and adaptation on the pitch and during the training sessions are what leads to us being so prepared during the matches and independent of who's starting and how much time individuals have on the pitch. We all know our role."