Orlando City Soccer Club are third place in the MLS Eastern Conference standings after 15 games.
There are plenty of games still to play in the MLS season, but for a team in their inaugural season in the MLS, the Lions are beginning to look like a team worthy of competing with the well-established teams in the MLS.
“The team’s growing. I felt more confidence from what we’ve seen tonight than five or six weeks ago,” head coach Adrian Heath said. “There was a little bit of pressure tonight because we want to maintain this run and keep it going, there’s a lot of good signs and it sets us up nicely for another big eight or nine days.”
Orlando City are currently on a five game unbeaten streak after defeating D.C. United 1-0 Sunday night at the Citrus Bowl, as Kaka scored his seventh goal of the season. Playing conditions were so hot in Orlando, the referee allowed a three-minute water break, the first in MLS history.
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“It is satisfying but of course, we need to continue it, we need to go another five games without a loss,” midfielder Lewis Neal said. “As I said a couple of defeats in this league would put you right back down there.”
Orlando City are just four points behind leaders D.C. United in a tight Eastern Conference, but D.C. United have played two game more than Orlando City. The current top six teams are separated by just 9 points.
This group of players are continuing to progress as a team, and their recent performances are backing this up. Kaka has had a huge influence on this, the experience he has brought to Orlando City has had a brilliant impact on the team.
“This is a work in progress; this is people getting to know each other better. Even as a staff, knowing what the players are capable of. I just think the team has grown together, the team’s jelling and the camaraderie within the group is getting better by the minute,” Heath said. “We want to keep progressing and getting better, and I think the players do too. They’re all holding each other accountable to the performance that we know. I thought tonight (Sunday) at times we played some really good stuff. We just need to keep it going now.”
“We’re on the right path. Now it’s five games without losing, winning and with two ties. This is very good,” Kaka said. “We know that we can suffer like we suffered today but in the end we can win. A lot of games when we started we played good but we lost. Today we didn’t play a very good game, but in the end we won. And that’s what counts now.”
“We certainly have the players to go on and beat any team in this league and we have known that since the beginning of the season, as you can see, results are starting to go our way,” starter Pedro Ribeiro said.
The first year of a new team was always going to be a work in progress. New players are getting to know each other and their styles of play. However, with a great coach, Adrian Heath, and a fantastic captain, the team would always be aiming for good results.