Orlando City are set to play at Exploria Stadium for the first time in nearly six months on Wednesday night when they face off against expansion side Nashville SC (7:30 pm EST, FOX 35 Plus).
The Lions will return home off a narrow 3-2 defeat at the hands of Inter Miami over the weekend. Head coach Oscar Pareja expects his side to bounce back.
“[The players] have one quality, it’s that despite the results, as has happened in the last three, four, five weeks, they have returned to the locker room very happy the day after,” said Pareja at his weekly press conference. “It’s another day and they need to continue whether they win, lose, or tie so we came from the game in Miami and now it’s another day. We’re going to play our game against Nashville with the hope that we do our best and get the points.”
Nashville have struggled in their first MLS season, taking just four points from their first five matches and most recently falling 2-0 in Atlanta on Saturday night.
The Tennesseans have taken a pragmatic approach under head coach Gary Smith, lining up in a compact 4-4-2 and committing numbers behind the ball in order to prevent opposing teams from creating chances. Pareja has spent ample time preparing Orlando City for the challenge.
““Nashville has a very constant model,” said Pareja They normally play in a 4-4-2, they have a lot of activity in the middle with Dax [McCarty] and [Aníbal] Godoy. What I have seen is that they threaten other teams in terms of speed and transition...but at the same time we see some opportunities that can suit our game and that we can hurt them”
Both Orlando and Nashville, like every team in this unprecedented MLS season, face a quick turnaround from the previous game to the next. The Lions flew back from Fort Lauderdale after the game on Saturday night and went straight back into training Sunday evening.
“It seems short but we have had time also before to prepare for these coming games in terms of the information that we need to provide to the players,” said Pareja.
“We’ll be ready."