During Orlando City’s next three matches, no one will have to wonder which players are traveling with the club.
Coach Jason Kreis on Tuesday said the entire team – minus midfielder Yoshi Yotún – will be along for the ride during a trip that includes a flight Kreis called an “all-day situation.” Orlando City (6-6-1, 19 points) opens U.S. Open Cup play on Wednesday against Miami United at Ted Hendricks Stadium in Hialeah.
The club left for Hialeah on Tuesday. So did centerback Amro Tarek, who has been gone for international duty. He flew out from Italy, where Egypt’s men’s national team was holding its most recent World Cup camp before narrowing its squad down to 23 players.
Midfielder Sacha Kljestan said it’ll be great to have players like striker Dom Dwyer and Lamine Sané, who have been dealing with injuries lately, traveling with the team again.
It’ll be even better if they can get on the pitch.
“It’ll be nice to have our experienced players back in the team,” Kljestan said.
“Good guys to be around. We’re traveling with the very big group for the next 10 days or so as we go one this road trip. I think it’ll be a nice bonding trip for everybody to be around each other. For us to travel together, to train together and really try to kickstart an Open Cup run and also keep pushing ourselves along this summer as we push toward the playoffs.”
Kreis said Dwyer (adductor strain) trained fully on Tuesday and that even though Sané (knee) wasn’t training fully with the club, the centerback was being brought with the rest of the group “in the belief that he will be ready in the near future.”
Captain and centerback Jonathan Spector (concussion) also recently returned to full training and will be with the Lions for the road trip.
“We’re taking everybody with the mindset that the players that are injured are so close to coming back that the work that doing is best done on the field and with the staff that’s all going,” Kreis said. “Of course, the hope is that those guys will come back over the next eight days and be prepared and ready for Montreal.”
After Orlando City’s match against Miami United, the Lions fly 2,803 miles on a chartered flight to Vancouver for a match against the Whitecaps on Saturday.
Orlando City caps the road trip with a June 13 game against the Montreal Impact.
More than a bonding exercise, this road trip represents an opportunity for Orlando City to get its season back on track. Kreis’ squad has lost four consecutive matches after setting a franchise record with six wins in a row.
“I actually think that the group is continuing to feel pretty strong about themselves,” Kreis said. “Certainly, we’ve been on the wrong end of results, for sure, for too many games in a row now, but there’s so many positive things. The players see it. You don’t have to sell them a bill of goods at all. The players see that we’re playing really well. The players see we’re doing a lot of things really, really well.”
Miami United is a National Premier Soccer League team, though Kreis said underestimating United – which had to win three Open Cup matches just for the right to face an MLS club – because of the club’s amateur status would be a mistake.
“It’s a team that I think it’s all about the respect that you give them,” Kreis said. “I think if we go into this match thinking that they’re not a full professional team, they’re not a first-division team, they’re not a second-division team – if we’re focused on that, then they will hurt us, for sure.”