Orlando City’s first team players and staff are firmly encamped inside the MLS bubble at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin. The buzz is steadily building as the Lions prepare to face Inter Miami for the very first time in the MLS is Back Tournament opener next week.
But even professional athletes need time off to rest, and head coach Oscar Pareja obliged his players with a day of relaxation on Monday.
“I think the coaches are doing a great job of managing our load,” said Orlando City forward Tesho Akindele after Tuesday’s return session. “When we’re on, we’re on hard, we’re training really hard. But they gave us our time off, they’ve let us relax in the pool, we got some stretching in on our own, and I think it’s really important for the body and for the mind to have that time off.”
Nani certainly appears to have earned an off day. The captain posted a picture of himself atop one of the resort’s pools, looking in tip top shape for the tournament.
The team returned to training Tuesday as they entered the final stretch of preparations for the Miami game, which will be the first MLS contest between two Florida teams in 19 years.
“It’s always a little bit interesting getting into training after the off day,” said Akindele. “We kind of eased into it, but by the end of it we were flying around, going full pace, so I think the off day gave us the energy we needed to come back hard.”
Orlando City and Inter Miami are set to kick off on Wednesday, July 8 at 8 pm EST. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN.