On this week's Orlando City Coach's Show with Adrian Heath, the Lions' boss discussed Saturday's 1-0 win in Chicago, previewed Friday night's game against the New York Red Bulls, and talked about other aspects of Orlando City SC.
Team Mood After Last Two Wins
"Couple of weeks ago everybody was a bit down and a bit doom and gloom about it, but obviously a couple of wins makes everything a bit better. I said a couple of weeks ago, this team is capable of winning three or four games and, if that was the case, it would pull us very close to being in the playoffs. I wanted to keep it alive and I think we've kept it alive for another week, and I want to keep it alive until we get Montreal here."
"Before the game, as I said to the players, with the social media now we knew that New York were winning. We knew that Montreal were going to win. I said ‘That doesn't change anything for us.' We have to take something from this game and we have to concentrate only on what we are going to do."
"We had a good shape. We didn't do anything silly. We didn't beat ourselves. As I always speak about, don't do something that's going to beat you. Don't give them anything. And we did that really well."
"You look at the strengths of the opposition. If they're going to squeeze high and leave space behind us, the way they did in Chicago, you're actually saying put the ball in behind you and then it's going to be a race. And when you have pace against you, you ain't winning them races."
"Accam's probably one of the quickest footballers I've ever seen on a football field. So at times, one-v-one, you're leaving space behind you, you're vulnerable. So what we said to Rafa or whoever was on that side on him, ‘Let him beat you with tricks but give yourself enough depth as he's not just going to outrun you. That would give us enough time to get some bodies around and give you some help.' And fortunately it worked well."
"The back four did really well on the night. One of the things we've been guilty of is beating ourselves at times. Make silly mistakes that give the opposition too many good chances, and I don't think we did that the other night. We cleared our lines when we had to. We defended well in numbers, but we had really good shape in the box when the ball went wide and that was probably one of the most pleasing away performances we've had this season."
Thoughts Going Into Final Stage of Season
"We had a really good heart-to-heart last Thursday where we spoke about what the next four or five games mean to us as a group. I think it's had an effect because they've shown their desire the last couple weeks and it sets us up for what's now going to be a huge game for us on Friday."
Full Backs Staying Home vs. Chicago
"We said, ‘The only way you go and join in is when you have to go and join in, and maybe make a two on one in their half of the field and make Accam or make [Patrick] Nyarko go and defend you. I don't want you being on the front foot saying it might come out here and leave big holes.' So we kept the back four intact for as long as we could."
"We're trying to put him higher up with less defensive responsibility."
"Most of the people who are criticizing Carlos have never left America and gone to a foreign country where they don't speak the language, and it's a completely different way of life. So first and foremost, he's a kid. He's 20 years of age. And he's had a lot of problems on and off the field this year. You don't take a kid from Colombia, or Benfica or Inter Milan, and people like that we're trying to buy, if he's not got talent. We know he's got talent and I've said all along, even in the early parts of the season, the best parts of all of our younger players are ahead of them. If we had waited another year, they wouldn't have been available. Not for the money that we got them for."
"Has he given us enough this year? Probably not. But you're not going to get it off a 20-year-old with all the new stuff going on around him in his life."
"He wasn't great on the ball, Lewis Neal. But his positional play and his starting points to defend when we turned the ball over was absolutely fantastic."
"When I look back at my own career, every time I was in a team that was successful, we had a great goalkeeper. Goalkeepers that can somehow save you a point. You come off after a game and go, ‘How the hell have we won that game?' And you look back and it's your keeper has made two huge saves at important times. Tally does what he does. He's a good goalkeeper. He's been one of the best goalkeepers in this league for years."
"He led by example. After the goal and at the end of the game, when people say ‘Does it mean something to them,' I think you see the reaction of the players. It shows it means an awful lot to them."
"He's been doing so well we thought about starting him. And we might do Friday in New York."
"Darwin's probably been the player of the season for us this year."
Playing Without Kaká
"They need some belief that it's not a one-man team. I'm sure that Ricky will be the first to say that the success or failure of our club will be a collective and not an individual. I've played in teams where there's been one individual who's been absolutely fantastic, but if the rest can't support him properly and adequately enough and do their own job properly, then you don't win very often."
"We've had to change the system a little bit. We put Lewis Neal in who is obviously different than Ricky. Ricky likes to attract people to the ball before releasing it. Whereas Lew plays very simple, keeps the ball ticking over, gets himself in little holes trying to fit it where the opposition midfield play, so it's a little bit different really."
Brek Shea, Awaiting the Birth of His Child
"Brek left training early this morning to go with his wife. He might not train tomorrow. Does he train the day after? So that would affect whether or not you're going to throw him on for the start on Friday."
Kaká Ready for Friday
"We hope he's going to be fit. He's trained really well the last two or three days, and then we have to understand whether he's going to be match fit."
"I don't like it. Let Mexico keep it."
"Rob Valentino has been back in the building and back looking at training. I think he and Anthony Pulis will be really good."
"I think there will be one or two (USL) announcements in the coming weeks."
Red Bull Arena
"In terms of the stadium being built, Red Bulls is the best by a mile I think."
New York Red Bulls
"Peter Reid, who I worked with at Sunderland, had him [Bradley Wright-Phillips] at Plymouth. He had a lot of knee injuries but he did say the kid had a goal in him. And he obviously came over here and he's done really, really well. Done better than most people in England thought he was going to do. He's obviously got an eye for the goal. I think that, whether it be [Mike] Grella or his brother, Shaun Wright-Phillips. Whether it be on the other side with Lloyd Sam and [Sasha] Kljestan has been a real integral piece as to what New York has done this year. He makes it work from back to front. He's been their catalyst this year. And then they've got Dax [McCarty] and obviously Felipe who have done absolutely fantastic to feed Kljestan, who has runners ahead of him. It doesn't surprise me they've been top of the league. They've got really good players and I think they're going to be one of the favorites to go all the way this year."
Approaching the Game
"Don't give anything away early on because they come out flying in Red Bull Arena and they've scored a lot of early goals. So we have to be ready from the off and we will be. I'm really looking forward to the game. We've been playing with a lot of confidence lately. The mood in the camp is really good. And I think we match up real well with them. The last time, before Cyle Larin got sent off, and we took it to the 90th minute that day, we were still pressing until that second goal in the 91st minute."