Notable Quotables | Orlando City vs. Minnesota United FC

Notable Quotables | Orlando City vs. Minnesota United FC

Orlando City SC Head Coach Oscar Pareja 

Opening statement

“We’re very happy to be in the Final. It has been a great tournament and a great opportunity for our players to represent the franchise and the Club. I think they have done a great job and are very well-deserved to be in the Final and tonight against a very good team, it was really hard to beat Minnesota. I think they came sharp and we adjusted well and the best part was that we respected the way we play and we respect our ways, our forms and we end up getting a result under our concept and principles and that’s what made us even more proud.”


On Nani’s performance and what it means for the group

“It’s great to have players who take that responsibility and put the weight on their shoulders and appear in the games that mean the most for us. It’s remarkable, but I want to include everybody’s effort. Everybody contributed to this victory and obviously we have some guys who had highlights and tremendous personality in them. They’re doing a great job, we’re happy.”


On how Nani’s big-game experience impacts the group

“[Nani] has been in these scenarios before. The thing that I want you all to know is that he’s training every single day like he is a rookie coming into the league and we all respect that from Luis [Nani]. In the games that he needs to appear, he is doing it. It’s contagious, his energy, and we respect his leadership. We’re all content with his performance of course and the sacrifice that these guys are doing, everybody just for each other, it’s remarkable indeed.”


On the work done with the team throughout this tournament

“I think there isn’t any secret. The players have understood the idea and the energy and the confidence that they have with that idea is tremendous. It makes our job easier. We have worked hard indeed, it has so far been difficult times for us, but the players just put all the excuses away and then just kept going and going and I think they’re happy. They’re playing with confidence and they accept each other and they understand that this is a day-by-day growing path. The guys who came from different countries and different clubs, they have helped us as well to gel and we have created a good momentum and a good thing. We’re still in the building mode, but we’re proud.”


On what this run has meant to the franchise

“I think it means a lot because we believe now in the project even more, the compromise that we are all getting into because this is a long process. It's phenomenal, I see good synergy, good conviction there. It means a lot to take the Club to this stage because we all know that we can win games and be protagonists of the tournament and the games, we have said numerous times. Once again I think the boys are doing a great job on the field, and they want more. So one step at a time and we’ll see.”


On the team’s preparation against Minnesota

“We knew that Minnesota is a very dynamic team, with great players up top and in the middle. We knew that they showed a lot of organization at their past games and that they showed a lot of volume from the outside so we were ready for this. We knew that we would have to deal with their plays from the middle and their set pieces and because of that we gave extra attention defensively. We respected our form of playing, we were patient and we started to find the spaces that we wanted and the goals started to happen. This is a result of all their hard work and they have accomplished very well.”


On the defensive players

“We have to recognize our defensive players as well. I believe that our players have done a tremendous defensive job, they have balanced us and have brought us all the way here so they deserve all the recognition.”


On the importance of reaching the finals

“The truth is that it means a lot for the Club, players and staff to reach the finals. In such a short time we focused on our game plan, our method and the goals that we set. It makes me proud to see that they are reaching our objectives in a way that was proposed since the beginning. It makes me extremely happy to see them triumph because they deserve it. Regarding Luis Nani, he appears at the moments where we need him the most. This is what a player like him has done during his entire career. It also makes me happy to watch him play now, like a young player who wants to keep winning, who has objectives and who is always looking ahead. These players are the ones who add a lot to the league. I am very happy for him.”


On the differences in the team from the start of the tournament to now

“The difference is that we’re growing. The difference is that we have confidence with this idea. What’s different is the boys are engaged, each one, with the purpose, with the system and with the objectives and then they’re training hard. I think the talent is there and now we’re gelling and we’re getting results as a result of all those things that have happened on the field.”


On the team’s defensive performance throughout the tournament

“I think first, just bringing Pedro [Gallese] and adding these players to the goalkeeper pool that we have with Brian [Rowe] and Mason [Stajduhar] is great, so we feel that in that spot we’re very secure and we have people who can perform this high anytime. Antonio [Carlos] has been great company for Robin [Jansson], I think João [Moutinho], Ruan and Robin [Jansson] have upgraded their game and the most important is that they have been working together. They are gelling together, they’re getting more connections and understanding more their responsibility as a group. Understanding is a big part of our games that they have that solidness and they have that balance. It’s about us just growing in those relationships and they’re doing a great job indeed.”


Orlando City SC Goalkeeper Pedro Gallese

On the team’s defensive game plan

“I think we studied and prepared well. I think it was a great defensive effort from everyone, it was very well done. We continued to fight and play hard throughout the game and it was a great result from everyone today.”


On making it to the finals 

“I am very happy, very happy with the work that we have done so far. We deserve to be in the finals after what we have shown. We have done a good job. We have been improving after each game.”


Orlando City SC Forward Benji Michel

On the satisfaction of the team’s chances going in

“It was very satisfying for us because we worked the whole week as a team making sure all the pieces were put together. The guys worked tremendously hard and for us to get the win was very good for us.”


On his goal

“I just saw one of our players had the ball and knew it was a good chance for us to counter, so I just gave all my energy. I came off the bench so I expect myself to give a spark to the team and I just knew that there was a chance for me to score. [Júnior] Urso played me the ball 1v1 and I was through and able to beat the ‘keeper and put the ball into the back of the net.”


On the looming matchup against the Timbers and his ties to the city of Portland

“I don’t really try to make connections with it, I just treat it like it’s just another game for us. I’m not trying to make any connections with Portland’s U-23s or Portland’s First Team, I just want to focus on us training well and making sure we stay focused and accomplish our goal.”

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September 11, 2020: Major League Soccer has announced the 2020 regular season schedule through the end of September. From September 18-27, each MLS club will compete in three regular season matches. Additional 2020 MLS regular season matches will be announced pending further developments regarding travel protocols. Attendance at matches will be determined in accordance with applicable state and local guidelines.