On Saturday, Orlando City traveled to Gillette Stadium in Foxsboro, Massachusetts to take on the New England Revolution. The game marked the fourth appearance for Orlando City Midfielder Julio Baptista, whose experience and strength has helped the Orlando City attacking game.
Head Coach Adrian Heath is still trying to figure out how the star player fits into his lineup. Baptista has started a couple of times, as well as coming in as a substitute, and his impact has been clear. This week, he assisted Cyle Larin who fed midfielder Carlos Rivas in the last-minute goal that earned their team the point on the road.
“We’re getting a better understanding of what he can do,” Coach Heath said after the game. “As I said, I thought he gave us a lift when he came on and he’s getting fitter by the week.”
Still, Coach Heath acknowledged that it had been a long time since Baptista had played and that he was still working on his fitness levels and getting back into the game. It’s still too early to tell whether or not Baptista will continue to be a substitute, or if he will earn a spot as a starter. “We started a game with him a couple of weeks ago against the Revs,” Coach Heath said. “But we still think he needs a bit more time, but he’s been a big pick-up for us.”
“The guy’s got unbelievable talent,” Coach Heath said. “I think he’ll be an important piece for us moving forward.”