Orlando City winger Chris Mueller knew he wanted to get back to the University of Wisconsin at some point this season.
The desire was there, but the time didn’t materialize until Orlando City’s first bye week under new head coach James O’Connor. The group trained for a few days at IMG Academy in Bradenton, but after that, Mueller’s weekend was his.
So first he went home to Chicago, then he took the short trip to Madison, Wis., to watch the Badgers’ 3-1 preseason victory over University of Illinois at Chicago.
“While I was at home, I just decided to check the schedule and see if [Wisconsin] had a home game that weekend and it just so happened to be so,” Mueller said. “I decided to make the trip, being that it would be my only chance to get back up there.
“I wanted to go back and see how the team is coming together. There’s a lot of new faces. I have a lot of friends who are still on the team and [I wanted] to see my coaches, as well. It was a good reminder, kind of getting to see your roots and where you’ve come from. You never want to forget those kinds of things.”
Mueller, the 2017 Big Ten Player of the Year, as well as last season’s collegiate assist king, was welcomed back with open arms. He signed autographs for fans while at the game and his former teammates asked for his advice regarding various topics.
— Wisconsin Soccer (@BadgerMSoccer) August 19, 2018
“I gave some of the guys some advice who just asked me,” Mueller said. “I didn’t really go up there with enough time to talk to the whole team. Hopefully can do that at some point in the near future. It’s interesting to see how some guys have changed roles.
“You’ve got new freshman coming in and the sophomores becoming upperclassmen asked what I had, advice-wise, on how to lead the team from and older player’s standpoint.”
Mueller, 21, said he embraced the role of the experienced player. He’s a rookie, but he’s started in 17 matches for Orlando City and has appeared in 23. He has three goals and five assists as a professional.
“They know how the culture in the locker room is supposed to be, after the class that I was in kind of built that from a foundation standpoint,” he said. “Just to continue all of our core values as a team and trying to be a good person and trying to do what’s right.”
“I don’t think it’s weird. It’s kind of cool. Even though I’m young, I’ve been through a fair amount of good experiences. Even bad experiences. Wherever it may be, I can bring something to the table and I think if people ask for my advice, I like to at least give my input. I think it’s cool to be at that point.”
Harris earns Save of the Week
Orlando Pride goalkeeper Ashlyn Harris earned NWSL Save of the Week honors for the sixth time this season. She managed to deny a header from North Carolina Courage midfielder Samantha Mewis in the 71st minute of the Pride’s 3-0 loss to the Courage in Cary, North Carolina.
At the time, Harris’ diving save kept the match scoreless.
— NWSL (@NWSL) August 21, 2018
City gets a hot sauce
Fans voted and decided the exclusive Orlando City hot sauce at Tijuanna Flats should be called “Take Your F’n Shirt Off.” The sauce was released on Monday, and Orlando City has been promoting it on social media. At 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Mueller and midfielder Yoshi Yotún will be on hand at the Tijuana Flats on South Orange Avenue to greet fans interested in getting the sauce.
The first 50 fans there will receive a complimentary bottle.
— Orlando City SC (@OrlandoCitySC) August 21, 2018