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Orlando City right back Will Johnson: Lions look to learn from loss to Atlanta United

Atlanta United midfielder Miguel Almirón and Orlando City midfielder Will Johnson battle for the ball during the first half at Orlando City Stadium. (Reinhold Matay-USA Today Sports)

There isn’t much time for Orlando City to dwell on its first loss in nearly two months.

A short week precedes a match against another tough Eastern Conference opponent. The Lions (6-3-1, 19 points) return to action at 8 p.m. on Friday against Toronto FC at BMO Field.

That means the Lions get four days to move past a heated 2-1 loss to rival Atlanta United.

“It’s easy, right?” said right back Will Johnson. “We lost three points, nothing more, nothing less. I guess we lost a little bit of pride because we really didn’t want to lose to them. At the end of the day, it’s three points, it’s 10 games, we’ve got 24 left to go. We’ve got to put this one behind us, but learn from it, too.

“You can’t just dismiss it as one bad game. There were things in there that we could have done better to affect the result, so we move on from that.”

Orlando City coach Jason Kreis pointed to the second half against the Five Stripes as a positive to take away from the loss. The Lions kept Atlanta United from adding to their lead and came within a goal of equalizing.

“The message is clear,” Kreis said after the match. “We’re a team that is moving forward. Atlanta right now has shown, through the way that they finished last year and the way they’ve started off this year, that they’re the top. That’s the apex. They give us a measuring stick to see what we’re striving for.

“I feel like we’re an improving team. I feel like we caused them all sorts of troubles in the second half. From my point of view, if we would’ve handled the whole 90 minutes the way we handled the second 45 I think we’d be in a much better place.”

Johnson said the most disappointing aspect of Sunday’s match was not coming away with points, despite a strong second-half performance.

“There were a couple of late runs that got cut back, but in the second half, they didn’t have much and that’s the best attacking team in the league,” Johnson said.

“On a positive note, we feel we’re trending in the right direction, defensively. We’re still making one or two mistakes per game that are costing us goals. I think as soon as we clean that up and get to a place, defensively, where it doesn’t matter who we’re playing against, that we keep clean sheets I think we’ll be in a good way.”

Tarek called up

Centerback Amro Tarek was called up to Egypt’s men’s nation team ahead of friendlies against Kuwait and Belgium as national teams around the world prepare for the 2019 World Cup in Russia.

Tarek has been capped once for Egypt’s national team. The squad that was released was a 29-man roster that will eventually be cut to 23 ahead of the World Cup.

Tarek on Monday tweeted a thank you to fans.

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