SANFORD, Fla. — Orlando City centerback Lamine Sané was eager to get back on the training pitch Monday morning.
The 6-foot-3 centerback wants to prove he’s ready for more minutes after missing time due to a calf injury. Sané returned to the pitch for the first time this season during Orlando City’s 1-0 win over the New York Red Bulls in Harrison, N.J. He subbed on in the 66th minute of the match – when it was still scoreless – for injured Alex De John.
“We have a lot of good players and the choice is not easy for the coach,” Sané said. “I’m going to give 100 percent so I can play this week.”
He finished Saturday’s match with four clearances and an interception in the penalty area.
“I’m feeling very good,” he said. “I was excited to start my season because [we] had a very good preseason as a group. It was fantastic. The week before we started, I was injured. But, now I’m positive. I’m free and so happy. New York was the best thing for me because I went in and we won. For the mentality, it’s perfect.”
Sané has been a mentor to the team’s young players. Rookies Kamal Miller and Santiago Patiño have both mentioned Sané when asked whether returning players have shown them the ropes during their first professional seasons.
It’s a mutual thing, he said. If he can help them improve, it’ll be better for the team.
“We are together,” he said. “I help them, and they help me, also.”
He added the team is more unified than it was last season and he’s confident the team can go far this season with the bonds that have been formed between the players.
“You can feel it on the field,” he said. “You can feel it in the locker room. There’s a lot of young players, but I love working with them because they listen. They are very respectful, I think, of the group. The ambiance is fantastic, really, I can tell you.”
Patiño relishes first start
Orlando City rookie Santiago Patiño got the first start of his young MLS career on Saturday against the Red Bulls.
“It was good to help the team out,” Patiño said. “We got the three points, that’s the most important. Now [we’re] focusing on this week’s training to have a positive result on Sunday.”
Patiño said he’s working on finishing. During the 31st minute against the Red Bulls, he had a promising chance, but he ultimately lost the ball before he could get a shot off.
“I got the ball, had a good turn, took a good touch forward, I looked up to the goalie, he stayed, so I had to take one more touch and, unfortunately, the touch wasn’t the best,” he said.
He said his teammates picked him up after that mistake.
“Everybody’s really positive on the team,” he said. “Not only myself, but when anyone makes a mistake, we always try to push each other and be positive, because it’s a game, you know? It’s going to happen sometimes.”
The 22-year-old striker said he is learning from Orlando City star Dom Dwyer.
“Me and Dom, we have a really good friendship,” Patiño said. “We always talk a lot and he teaches me a lot of the things that he does well, because he wants me to grow a lot as a player. It’s really good for me to be here have someone like that.”
Akindele, Johnson back in training
Forward Tesho Akindele (hamstring) and midfielder Will Johnson (concussion) were present for the media portion of Monday’s training session.
De John wasn’t present for the media portion of Monday’s training session. Coach James O’Connor will be made available Wednesday to provide updates on the team’s injured players.
Centerback Kamal Miller was training with the team Monday after his call-up to Canada’s senior national team.