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Orlando City owner Flávio Augusto Da Silva says James O’Connor is right coach to turn around Lions

Orlando City owner Flávio Augusto Da Silva says James O'Connor is the right person to turn around the struggling Lions. (Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports)

Orlando City owner Flávio Augusto Da Silva checked off one box on his list of goals when he was able to reveal Orlando City Stadium would be the host of the 2019 MLS All-Star Game.

Next on the list?

Brining better results to Orlando City Stadium.

Da Silva, speaking after a Thursday news conference to announce the all-star game, said he believe James O’Connor is the right man to bring results. Orlando City suffered a 4-0 loss at Chicago Sunday and has rarely been competitive during the second half of the season.

O’Connor was hired midway through the year after Jason Kreis was fired following a six-match losing streak, which eventually turned into a nine-match slide.

“Coach O’Connor took on a great challenge,” Da Silva said before the Lions’ loss to the Fire. “A huge challenge, the moment he took over the team. It’s not easy, but he’s very courageous. I have to say, last time, when we replaced the coach for the first time, we considered his name, Coach O’Connor, because it has a very special connection to this culture. To the culture of the club.

“We considered that he wasn’t ready at the time. This time, he was our first candidate. He’s very engaged to turn the team, the results around. I believe after this difficult situation that he took over, he’s going to have a very good moment with this club.”

O’Connor isn’t too focused on the MLS All-Star Game, even though he’ll be the coach when the game comes around next summer.

“For me, I’ll stick it in the drawer and I’ll worry about it when it comes around,” O’Connor said with a smile after the announcement.

“We’ve got a lot to get focused on. We’ve got a lot that we want to get to ourselves. We’ve got a mountain of we’re that we’re getting through at the moment. We’ll stick it on the calendar. We’re really excited about it, but there’s a lot of work that we’re going to get to before we get to this event, that’s for sure.”

Da Silva knows the results haven’t been there, but he reiterated his commitment to Orlando City after the all-star game was announced.

“Of course, we’re not going to win every game,” Da Silva said.

“But even in bad times and when we don’t get results, we’ve got to always show our commitment. It’s like the players. The supporters want to see the players always fighting. Until the last second, you know? We’re going to always fight for the best for this community. We’ll never give up to bring the best, including the results on the field.”

Higuita out, El-Munir returns

Defensive midfielder Cristian Higuita missed Sunday’s match against the Chicago Fire with a calf strain. He is day-to-day. He started Orlando City’s previous two matches after returning from an adductor injury.

Left back/winger Mohemed El-Munir returned to the Lions’ starting XI as a left winger against the Chicago Fire. He missed Orlando City’s 1-0 loss to Sporting Kansas City due to international duty, but didn’t play in the two matches prior to that due to a coach’s decision.

 

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