Notes & Quotes: Orlando City SC (3/16)

Without team captain Ricardo Kaká, Orlando City SC players are confident in the rest of their team.


March 16, 2017 at Sylvan Lake Park

Availability: MF Antonio Nocerino, MD Cristian Higuita

MF Antonio Nocerino

(translated from Spanish… yes, Spanish)

Nocerino sees a difference in playing at home.

The expectations are important because we played at home, and, for us, that’s very important. All the matches where we have a lot of opportunities of playing at home, we play with a lot of determination. For us, the new stadium is a help that is very important. We must think that each match is like a final, and we must play very fiercely and aggressively because we want to win. We play each game to win.

When asked about not playing the New England Revolution last weekend, Nocerino said it doesn’t change anything.

It doesn’t change anything for us because we didn’t play on the weekend, but we did train a lot, and it was very important to have high dexterity, like we usually have; therefore, for us, we don’t change anything. This is very important to think about the match on Sunday because it doesn’t matter if one plays or doesn’t play. It is important to play for victory. This is fundamental.

(spoke in English)

Injuries have marred Orlando City SC recently, with team captain Ricardo Kaká going down with a hamstring injury early in the 1-0 win over New York City FC.

For me, it’s good because now I work before in the preseason. For me, it’s better. And the team is work harder in preseason, and now the form, the physicality, the team is better because, with the coaches, is every training is hard. His intensity, his tactically, his technically; for team, every single play is very, very important. For me, it’s better because, now, I stay good. Physically, my body is perfect. I’m very happy. I repeat, it’s important the group. Now, it’s a work together for win Saturday.

The Lions host the Philadelphia Union on Saturday.

No, because prepared the game with tactically, technically is important. The mentality. It’s a stronger mentality, attitude, patient. Accuracy. I repeat, the team have a big fortune because they play in the stadium in the home. The new stadium for team is help. And Saturday is the team no have excuses because is a no—in the home is a play hard for everything. Is no possible play slowly. And the Saturday, I no look the day Saturday because the next game, the last week, no play. And now every player is angry, you know? Saturday is very, very hard game.

City head coach Jason Kreis said he wants his players to know multiple roles.

No, because my position is the same. Kaka, for team, is help, is top, is better, is incredible. Now, have injury. The team have a good player for substitute Ricky. And, for me, for team, I have a one need. The group is important. The group, no single player. Ricky’s the best. In the team have a player is good for substitute Ricky. And I no have a problem because the group is very strong. Is very compact. For me, is very happy because the group is good guy, good player. For have the good season; no, long time. Have the group very compact for play good in the long season.

MF Cristian Higuita

(translated from Spanish)

When asked about how he was feeling, Higuita said he feels “pretty good.”

I feel pretty good, honestly. Yeah, there’s a couple of players that are battered here and there, but we’re all working through it, and I don’t think anyone feels that bad enough.

I’m going from negative to positive. I’ve done workouts different from the team that has helped a lot. The days the team has off, I’ve been training very well; therefore, I hope when I have to contribute, I’ll assume responsibility.

When asked about how the team feels after winning against NYCFC, Higuita said they feel motivated.

We feel motivated because winning the first match in home is very important for the inauguration, for the people who were there. Now this match we have to do the same. We have to get three points. To be honest, last week, we didn’t play. You can feel it a little bit because we also want competition, but now we have to play this match, and we have to take responsibility.

Higuita acknowledged Philadelphia’s defensive strength.

Absolutely. We start on Monday reviewing other teams and looking at their strengths and their weaknesses. And we know that this team is really good defensively, and we have a strategy on how we’re going to attack against them.

In all honesty, it’s going to be an important match for us. We know that we have to win. We have to be stronger playing home. We already showed that playing home our defense is stronger. Now we have to improve our offense. We hope that in this match we get three points that are going to help us a lot for later.

Without Kaká, Higuita said the team still has to perform.

It might seem that everyone is thinking that we’re relying a lot on Kaká, but we have to take responsibility [about the game], when Kaká is or isn’t there. When he isn’t there, we have to have a guide that takes on the leadership, and we hope to be in our 100 percent for the match and win, which is what’s important.

When asked about how the competition was for at different positions, Higuita said there are strengths across the board.

I’m gonna speak as a group, and I think that everyone on the team is really good, and we have really great strengths. I think we have really good people up front, really good forwards. And that’s just what we’re looking at.

When asked about training at the new stadium, Higuita said he wants to do that at least once a week.

That’s actually one of the things I do agree with. It’s a new pitch, and we don’t get to see it often. And I would like to train at the new stadium at least once a week.

When asked about maturity, Higuita said he thinks he’s grown a lot.

I think maturity comes with time. And I think I’ve grown a lot. I also think that, personally, I’m a very emotional person. I don’t like losing games, and I think that just kinda keeps me going. I know none of my teammates like to lose games, but I, personally, am very emotional about that. But I feel good emotionally and physically.