Orlando City

💬 Wilder Cartagena: 'I decided to just hit it, with a lot of confidence' after his game-winning golazo vs Nashville SC

Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja

Opening statement 

“I thought we had a good game, especially in that first half where we connected much more in the final third and then we created many options. We could have probably been more precise and opened the game more, but the game was tight especially against Nashville. They placed a lot of players in their final third and it was difficult for us to break it up, but it is a task for us to accomplish. We just need to be more precise in that last part of the field, so we don’t need to suffer that much. Second half, I thought we controlled the game. We had a couple options and a few options that could have given us more peace to not finish the game that tight. We recognized Nashville was throwing bodies in front and so we became that line of five in the last few minutes and just gave us energy. The boys that came on in the second half, as well, gave us a hand to control the game. Happy for this first playoff win, but we have to get ready for the next one. The series is there [to win], and we will get ready for the next game in Nashville.” 

On the energy at Exploria Stadium 

“[The] atmosphere is getting better and better. I hope that the entire country saw them [Orlando fans] because it was a great experience to see the crowd engage in the game and give us that much energy. They are becoming protagonists of the success of the team, and I was very pleased to see that. It was great.” 

On the adjustments that were made from Orlando’s last match against Nashville 

“We are trying to combine and balance optimism and ambition and just be more offensive and have initiative. Everybody is excellent and trying to raise their level to win. I see the team more convinced of that assignment, to be crafty and connect passes and use the spaces to be heavier in the last third of the field. I’m happy to see it and the boys are improving a lot.”

Orlando City SC Midfielder Wilder Cartagena 

On what he saw in the play that led to his goal 

“It was a great goal and It was a beautiful goal. I think on the play, it was César [Araújo] who headed it over to me. Then I found myself in a lot of space and I decided to just hit it, with a lot of confidence. Thankfully I hit it in a spot that was really difficult for the goalkeeper. You know, I’ve been trying to do that the last couple of games and this one finally came off and it was a great one.” 

On the difference from the last game against Nashville  

“You know, I think we’re two teams that really know each other. Obviously we’ve played each other a lot, but today, I think we were the more aggressive team. We pressed a lot, we were very incisive with our passing. Obviously they’re a great team that defends really well and it’s really difficult to enter their area against them, but I think we’ve got players that are really unbalancing in the way we like to play the game, so we were able to create a lot of opportunities and then finish one.” 

On the spaces that Nashville’s defense left open 

“I had an opportunity to learn the game and I took the hit. I saw that I had space, but I didn't hit it that well. The second time thankfully I was able to hit it with a lot of confidence and I put it in an incredible spot for the golazo. I think that if I had hit the ball a bunch more times then I don't think I’d be able to put [the ball] in that same place. As a team we are working hard during the week to try and create opportunities and create those chances for ourselves. We believe in the plans that Oscar [Pareja] sets out and now we have to focus on the next one.”

Orlando City SC Midfielder Dagur Dan Thórhallsson 

On his first appearance in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs 

“It was amazing. The atmosphere was crazy, especially at the end. I’ve never heard so much noise in the stadium before, myself. So, it’s an amazing feeling and an amazing win.”  

On Wilder Cartagena’s importance to the team 

“I can tell you, for me, he’s one of the most important players on our team. Defensively he does all the dirty work, wins the first and the second ball and makes other players shine. So today he scored an amazing goal and I’m just really happy for him.” 

On what worked for the team tonight  

“We kept the ball high on the pitch, with a lot of players and a dynamic system, of course. So that was the way we could pin [Nashville] a little bit down and that’s how the goal with Wilder came. We pinned them a little bit down and then he got a chance and took it. So, for me, when we pin teams down then most of the players on our team shine.”