NY Focus

Orlando City Maintain Their Focus with NYCFC in Sight

On March 8, the two newest expansion clubs made their MLS debut when Orlando City welcomed New York City FC to the Orlando Citrus Bowl. The clash of blue and purple ended in a 1-1 draw, rewarding both sides with their first ever points in top flight soccer. This intense fixture will be on display again when New York City return to Orlando for a late season matchup. With Orlando City in 7th place, stretching for the 6th and final playoff position, New York City sit four points behind them.

The objective at Orlando City’s training camp remains squarely focused on the next game at hand, and with four wins in a row, this strategy seems to be working. The race for 6th place is coming down to the wire. And, the possibility of making the playoffs continually creeps into the mind of each player. But during practice this week, they have set their sights on beating New York. “We have a lot of confidence after four wins in a row. I think the group is ready for New York City,” center-back Aurélien Collin remarked. “It will be a beautiful night with big names and big players.”

Major League Soccer’s rookie leading goal scorer, Cyle Larin, is adamant to make his mark on Friday night’s game. “It’s important for me to be ready for every game,” he said. “If I’m ready, I know I’ll score.” Larin isn’t the only one with a positive attitude after this week’s practice. Coach Adrian Heath couldn’t be any more excited, explaining, “There’s been a really good mood in the camp, and the players have been fabulous this week.” Looking ahead to Friday, he continued, “I think that New England will get a result on Saturday [against Montréal], so we have to make sure we do our bit on Friday.”

The Lions’ recent winning form seems to be their catalyst going forward into the closing stages of regular season play. Collin attributed the winning streak to the cohesion of the team, “We attack forward together and we defend together, that’s the biggest difference now that we’re winning.”

After exceeding the goal that was set before their consecutive wins, Orlando City now look to finish the season strong. Coach Heath commended his players for their hard work in their performances lately, “A few weeks ago we were saying: ‘Can we win two or three games?’ and we’ve won four on the bounce—that gives us an opportunity in this game. We wanted to take it to the Montréal game, we won that game and now we’re taking it to the New York game. Let’s make sure we take it to the Philly game by winning the game on Friday.”

Orlando City take the field against New York City FC at 7 p.m. at the Citrus Bowl on Friday night. Montréal currently hold the last playoff spot with four points in hand but have two very tough games left, New England Revolution on Oct. 17, and Toronto FC on Oct. 25.

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UPDATE: June 10, 2020 - Major League Soccer announced it will restart the 2020 season with all 26 MLS clubs competing in the MLS is Back Tournament at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida beginning July 8. Upon completion of the tournament, MLS plans to continue its regular season with a revised schedule in home markets. The revised schedule may see certain matches from the original 2020 MLS regular season schedule being cancelled or rescheduled. The final number of matches and the schedule for the remainder of the 2020 MLS regular season and related ticket policies will be announced in the coming weeks.