6:55 p.m.

I’ve made it. Here are your starting lineups.

2:55 p.m.

In case anyone’s interested, I just finished a story on the Pride’s Camila Martins Pereira and Chioma Ubogagu. Both are having career seasons in their first year in Orlando, despite the latter having an injury setback midway through the year. You can read it here.

Now I’m gonna go play some basketball before it pours… (“Please no rain delay at the game tonight…”)

Former Dash Players Camila Martins Pereira, Chioma Ubogagu Find Freedom, Opportunities with Pride

1:01 p.m.

Alright, I’m off to write an Orlando Pride story. I’ll be back when the game starts. If you have any questions, feel free to comment here, or you can tweet at me at @NDR_VictorTan or @NewDayReview.

See everyone at the stadium!

1:00 p.m.

Regarding trash talk between fans, Kreis said there needs to be a line.

Yeah, you know, it’s difficult for me to make a comment about that. I don’t know exactly what you’re talking about, but I do think that it needs to be said by people like me that there’s a line. And there should always be a line. And at the end of the day, this is a sport. This is not life or death. This is not war. So we need to treat it that way. We certainly give everything we can towards our jobs. There’s absolutely zero doubt about that, and often times I feel like I would give my life for the job, but the truth of the matter is I wouldn’t. And I hope that fans feel the same and can respect that.

12:59 p.m.

Kreis said during training this week that he felt the atmosphere in Orlando City Stadium has fallen off since the beginning of the season. Here’s the full quote.

Yeah, no doubt about it. We hope that our fans come early, and we hope that our fans are loud, and we hope that our fans are very supportive of us. My honest opinion would be that we have dropped off a little bit in that in the past couple games. Our last home match, in particular, from my point of view, the crowd was much diminished, and the atmosphere was a little diminished as well. And so I guess I would repeat an urgent request to the fans that we need you. You’re part of our family, and we need you there Friday night.

12:37 p.m.

July 19, 2017, marked the one-year anniversary since Kreis was announced as Orlando City’s new head coach. That came about two weeks after Adrian Heath was fired. Here’s what Kreis had to say about the milestone.

Pleased. Really pleased and happy, both in my job capacity as the head coach of this team as well as a community member of this city. Really, really pleased to be here. My family has adjusted extremely well. We all just couldn’t be happier with our lives outside of the job, and then inside of the job, it’s been really good. Has it been great? No. Would I have liked it to have been a little bit better? Yes, if we’re talking strictly about results. But I think that we still can say that we’re in a positive place. I think we still can say we believe the team has improved, and we still have a lot in front of us this year. We have a possibility. We have a job, a challenge in front of us, and we believe very strongly inside of our group that we can attain our goals.

12:18 p.m.

During the 16-day break between Toronto and Atlanta, the team got back to working on possession, among other focus points. Here’s Spector on the team’s training sessions.

It’s just given us more time to prepare. You know, we’ve had kind of a crazy schedule as of late, last couple of months, and there hasn’t been a lot of time in between games for, one, to recover, and, two, to prepare for the opposition. So we’ve had that this time around, and we should be well-rested and ready to go on Friday night.

It’s a process. It’s not just been this past week. It’s certainly been a focus this past week, but, from preseason onwards, we’ve been focusing on keeping the ball and having good possession, not just in our half but more importantly in the opposition’s half. So, it’s a process, and, no, we’re not perfect yet. No team is. But it’s about limiting mistakes and making them defend for long stretches of the game.

Yeah, I think it’s a mindset more than anything else. It’s gonna be down to focus and our concentration levels. You know, we know deep down what we’re good at, and we need to emphasize that and concentrate on doing those things that make us a good team.

11:58 a.m.

It’s been 16 days since Orlando City played its last game in a 3-1 loss to Toronto FC. Sebastian Giovinco did some stupid stuff in that game…

Sebastian Giovinco Records Another Brace Against Orlando City for Another Win

11:56 a.m.

In other non-soccer news (sort of), midfielder Antonio Nocerino is expecting his fourth child. Here’s his Instagram post announcing the child and his quote from training (in his own English words).

Thank you. Thank you very much. I’m very happy because my family is happy, and my wife stay good. It’s important. I’m happy because of the son—it’s happy when you have the possibility for have the baby because the baby’s future is the life, and, in my house, I like whenever the baby because my baby is my life. I’m very happy. Thank you.

11:53 a.m.

And here’s Spector on playing in back-to-back games against the same team.

Yeah, not certainly this season [have I played in back-to-back games like this]. Obviously in the past I have, but it’s not been in the league. It’s always been maybe play ’em in the league and then in a cup competition or something like that. A lot of times there’s two completely different teams ’cause there’s a lot of changes made for those competitions. So, this is a little bit unique in that sense. But there’s still a week in between. It’s not as if it’s a mid-week game where we go and play them. So, it’s a unique situation, and certainly by the second game the teams will know each other very well.

After Friday’s home bout against Atlanta, City will travel to Atlanta just eight days later for the same matchup. Here’s what Kreis said about how his team prepares for back-to-back games against the same opponent.

[Back-to-back games] doesn’t at all [change how we prepare]. It doesn’t at all. We’re not holding anything back. We’re not thinking that we have any secrets that we’re gonna hold from them, and I’m pretty sure that they don’t have any secrets they’re gonna hold from us either. You know, we go into the first match. It’s our home match, and we go after three points. That’s our objective in every home match. We make no bones about it. And then we focus on the next match when we need to, which is after Friday night.

If you didn’t see it, Atlanta put up a billboard ad near downtown Orlando that said, “Orlando, we’re coming to conquer.” It has since been taken down. Anyway, I think center-back Jonathan Spector had a pretty good response to that.

Is this a rivalry? Orlando City SC head coach Jason Kreis doesn’t see it as one—not yet, at least. Here’s what he had to say about the upcoming matchup against Atlanta United FC tonight.

Jason Kreis: Orlando City-Atlanta United Matchup Isn’t Rivalry Yet

For every quote used here, check out our Notes & Quotes from this week in training.

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