The Lions continued their metamorphosis under Oscar Pareja last night in a closed-door scrimmage at Exploria Stadium against the Tampa Bay Rowdies out of the USL Championship. While not your typical I-4 Derby, at least the Lions got the win in a 2-1 final.
Orlando City fell behind 1-0 on a goal by Kyle Murphy shortly after halftime. Jordan Bender equalized for the Lions and Junior Urso scored the game-winner on a header from a brilliant cross by Joao Moutinho on the left side.
Only the first 15 minutes were open to the media. As such, there wasn’t much information that could be passed along last night, particularly since neither team scored in the first half. But information has a way of trickling out and the club provided some canned interviews with Pareja and Junior Urso.
- Overall, Pareja said he was happy with the performance and wants the team to continue progressing as the preseason rolls along. “Good exercise. I think it’s positive,” Pareja said. “We’re competing and we’re going to be increasing along the way obviously, but we’re happy.”
- Despite falling behind (and finally allowing a goal in preseason), Pareja was pleased overall with the defensive effort. “We are upset because we tried to keep our goal and zero is one of the objectives but today they probably played the best defensive game because we controlled the game in front. The boys in the back were very good sustaining that attack. Just on one play we got distracted and their player did well too.”
- On the team’s next steps, Pareja said: “We’re just trying to look better and better. The cohesiveness in the team has to be increasing and we have challenges. We are doing some different things. We will keep increasing those things and it will help us.”
- Urso placed the win above scoring his first goal as a Lion: “I’m very happy to win the game because it is our job. We want to win every game and today I’m very happy to score and win the game.”
- Urso said he thought the Lions did a better job of avoiding turnovers and generating scoring chances against Tampa Bay than in previous preseason matches: “The first game we tried to keep the ball more but many times we made a mistake. But today I think we kepth more and we tried more to score the goals. We have to do that. We have to shoot. We have to make many things on the pitch and today I think was better than last game.”
The next preseason match is Saturday at USF against D.C. United at 4 p.m. That friendly is closed to the public. The next (and last) open preseason match is next Tuesday against Icelandic side KR Reykjavík at Exploria Stadium at 6 p.m. The Lions will wrap up the preseason slate next Friday at the stadium against San Antonio FC in another closed-door affair.
Orlando City’s 2020 Preseason Schedule and Results
- Saturday, Jan. 25 — Orlando City 3-0 Stetson University
- Saturday, Feb. 1 — Orlando City vs. Columbus Crew (CANCELED)
- Tuesday, Feb. 4 — Orlando City 2-0 Inter Playa
- Saturday, Feb. 8 — Orlando City 1-0 Montreal Impact
- Wednesday, Feb. 12 — Orlando City 2-1 Tampa Bay Rowdies
- Saturday, Feb. 15 — Orlando City vs. D.C. United at University of South Florida (Closed Door)
Tuesday, Feb. 18 — Orlando City vs. KR Reykjavík at Exploria Stadium (6 p.m.)
STM Tickets | General Public Tickets
- Friday, Feb. 21 — Orlando City vs. San Antonio FC at Exploria Stadium (Closed Door)