With just two weeks until Orlando City kick off the MLS is Back Tournament against Inter Miami and mere days before the team’s arrival at the Walt Disney World Resort, the excitement in the group is reaching a fever pitch.
“The energy of the group is fantastic,” said Orlando City Homegrown midfielder David Loera after Monday’s training session. “We’re all very excited, we’re all very happy that the league is allowing us to go back to playing. We’re on a mission. So we’re trying to keep our energy high because we’re going there to win.”
The Lions are in the tournament’s only six-team group, along with Miami, New York City FC, Philadelphia Union, Chicago Fire FC, and Nashville SC. The league announced that Orlando and Miami would be drawn together for the tournament opener before the draw even occurred, and the buzz for the matchup has been building. But Loera says the team is keeping an even keel about their new southern neighbors.
“I think we just prepare how we prepare with every other game, going into it with a winning mentality,” he said. “Looking at what they have done so far in the season [we] kind of have an idea of how they play. They might change it, they might not, but we’re still going in there how we face every other opponent.”
The players are also starting to think about what they’ll be bringing inside the “bubble,” where they’ll be unable to access areas outside the resort due to the league’s coronavirus safety protocols. When asked what he’s bringing, Loera was quick to answer.
“PlayStation,” he said with a laugh. “Playstation and bonding with some of my teammates, hopefully all of them and getting to know each other more, and winning on and off the field.”
Orlando City and Inter Miami square off in the tournament opener on July 8. Kickoff times and a full broadcast schedule for the tournament will be released in the coming days.