(Photo by Victor Tan / New Day Review)

ORLANDO, Fla. – Right-back Rafael Ramos has endured and persisted through season-beginning hamstring injuries that have kept him out of contention for a spot on Orlando City SC’s Major League Soccer side. After competing in his first full match in a 3-1 loss to the Charlotte Independence for Orlando City B on May 27, Ramos is feeling confident.

“I think I did well. I felt very good,” Ramos said after training with the first team Tuesday. “Felt confident, and I didn’t feel any issues on my body or hamstring or anything about that, so I think—the most important thing for me was to be healthy and to give my 100 percent to the team, and I’ll try to help them, and I hope I did.”

Ramos has only played in two matches this season, both for head coach Anthony Pulis’ United Soccer League side. His first bit of action came in a 2-1 win over FC Cincinnati on May 13 when Ramos notched 76 minutes.

His first full game for OCB was a necessity before Lions head coach Jason Kreis would consider him in contention for a spot with the first team. After seeing his performance on Saturday, Kreis said the 22-year-old will be available for his side “very soon.”

“Rafa’s performance was like the rest. I think it was very strong over the first 30 minutes or so, and then the team collapsed a bit,” Kreis said after training Tuesday. “He was part of that team… But, from a physical standpoint and from a playing standpoint, I believe he’s headed in a very positive direction and should be available very soon.”

Said Ramos on his timetable to return to the MLS squad: “I hope to get back to the first team very soon like this or maybe next week ‘cus [Scott Sutter] played a lot of games since he came here. And we had a lot of games in mid-week, so he’ll probably get a game to rest, and I hope I can get a chance.”

OCB’s loss to Charlotte was also Ramos’ first opportunity to play in the new stadium. While it wasn’t filled to capacity like he would’ve liked, Ramos is still grateful for the minutes.

“It was nice. It was very nice to finally be out there with the boys and play,” he said. “Although it was OCB, but I’m thankful for the opportunity to play with them again. And I just wanted to get some minutes in so I can now be available for the first team. And it was awesome to play in that field.

“I wish it was filled, but it’s alright. And I hope to play there again soon.”

For Ramos, though, he is now dealing with a minor upper-body injury. After drawing a foul in the 65th minute in the Charlotte match, Ramos came up holding his left shoulder. That’s not something that’ll keep the Portuguese from playing, though.

“Yeah, it’s not 100 percent yet, but it’s good enough to play, as I said to the coach,” Ramos said.

The Lions host D.C. United Wednesday at 7:30 p.m.

For more on Ramos’ status as he continues to fight his way back onto the MLS roster, follow Victor Tan on Twitter at @NDR_VictorTan.


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