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Orlando City centerback Alex De John hopes to bounce back after hamstring injury

Orlando City SC defender Robin Jansson (6) and defender Alex De John (3) leap for a high ball over New York Red Bulls midfielder Daniel Royer (77) and defender Joao Moutinho (44) during the second half at Red Bull Arena. (Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)

ORLANDO — Orlando City centerback Alex De John just wants to get back outside after suffering a hamstring injury during the Lions’ March 23 win over the New York Red Bulls.

De John has missed portions of training since the injury and was ruled out for Sunday’s game against D.C. United.

“I would have loved to play against D.C.,” De John told Pro Soccer USA before Sunday’s match. “I think that was one of the games I had on my bucket list because, playing against [Wayne] Rooney. But I think the guys are going to do a great job. For me, it’s just getting healthy and getting back out here.

“If the guys keep winning, they keep winning. You know, I’m happy with that. As long as the team’s winning. Obviously, for me, I want to play.”

He knew something was wrong when he came through with a challenge to stop in the 63rd minute of the Lions’ win over the Red Bulls.

He kicked the ball out of play and immediately waved toward the sidelines. After he was looked at, he came up limping and was replaced by Lamine Sané. Orlando City coach James O’Connor later confirmed De John, a starter in three of the Lions first four matches, would be out for “a couple of weeks, minimum.”

“Honestly, the whole second half I felt it coming a little bit more and a little bit more,” De John said. “I was hoping it was going to hold off. I was just getting super tight. I don’t know if it was the cold weather or stuff like that. I just felt like my hamstring was a little tight. As soon as I made that play and slid, I instantly felt it.”

He added he didn’t want to push it and make it worse after straining it, which is why he waved over to the sideline.

 “I’m getting better every single day, which is a positive,” he said. “I’m walking fine, and I can do a lot of things, so I’m hoping it’s a speedy recovery.”

The process of getting back on the pitch after a hamstring injury is tough, De John. He added there’s a lot of “boring” work he needs to do to before he’s ready for a game again.

“Just rehab and recovery,” he said. “Nothing too much. Do a lot of upper-body stuff. Nothing really lower-body, just let the muscle recover, but I just want to get back out here. I’m stuck inside for a couple of weeks, probably. I just want to get back out here.”  

Stajduhar starts while on loan

Orlando City goalkeeper Mason Stajduhar, who is on a season-long loan to USL Championship side Tulsa Roughnecks FC, started his first professional match Friday and helped the Roughnecks earn a 2-1 victory over Rio Grande Valley FC. 

“It’s been a long road to get to this point,” Stajduhar posted on Instagram after recording two saves during Friday’s match. “Happy to make my professional debut and get the win!”

The Homegrown goalkeeper battled bone cancer last season. He completed six months of treatment in June 2018 and was a constant presence at Orlando City’s training sessions. 

OCB drops season opener

Orlando City B opened its inaugural USL League one season with a 3-1 loss to FC Tuscon on Saturday at Montverde Academy. 

Guillermo Delgado netted a brace for FC Tuscon, finding the back of the net in the 22nd and 54th minutes of the match, and Zach Wright scored the other goal during first-half stoppage time. Koby Osei-Wusu scored OCB’s first goal of the season in the 56th minute of the match. 

OCB finished the match with 10 men after Randy Mendoza was sent off with a straight red in the 45th minute.  

“They are one of the strongest teams in the league,” OCB coach Fernando Jose De Argila Irurita said after the match. “We couldn’t have asked more from the kids, we congratulated them after the game. We were punished by the cards, but overall I was satisfied. We played a very good team and in the last 50 minutes we had them in their own field.”

OCB takes on Toronto FC II on on Friday. 

Orlando Pride crush USF

The Orlando Pride bounced back from a 4-0 defeat at hands of the North Carolina Courage with a 6-0 preseason victory over the University of South Florida. Forward Chioma Ubogagu scored a goal in the opening minute and college draft pick Erin Greening forced an own goal in the fourth minute. 

Forward Rachel Hill scored goals in the 46th, 49th and 52nd minutes of the match, and Brazilian superstar Marta capped the scoring in the 54th minute.

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