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Orlando City midfielder Pierre Da Silva relishes MLS minutes

Orlando City midfielder Pierre Da Silva (left) walks into training alongside Carlos Ascues. (Jordan Culver/Orlando Sentinel)

Orlando City midfielder Pierre Da Silva wasn’t sure he’d get minutes during Orlando City’s match against Atlanta United.

Like he has throughout the season, he just stayed ready. When he was subbed on in the 61st minute of Orlando City’s 2-1 loss the Five Stripes, he was a bit nervous.

By the time his first touch came and went, the nerves were gone, Da Silva said. He played a career-high 29 minutes against Atlanta United, eclipsing his previous career-high of a single minute by a wide margin.

“It’s always great to get some minutes,” Da Silva said. “I’ve been waiting a long time. Just patience. Everything comes little by little. It was a good performance. Obviously, we didn’t get the result. We didn’t want that result, but you have to look for the next game.”

The minutes weren’t enough to properly evaluate Da Silva, coach James O’Connor said. Those minutes were the young midfielder’s first MLS minutes all season.

 “I thought he had one flash second half where he cut inside,” O’Connor said. “He was pretty direct, got at them, and then got in behind and got a decent cross.”

Da Silva came on when the match was still 1-1. Atlanta United dominated the Lions throughout the second half, and the 20-year-old Da Silva wasn’t in much of a position to change that.

“It’s hard for a young player when you come on in a situation like that to really go on and really impact the game,” O’Connor said. “He needed some other guys to be really helping him as well. It’s unfair to make judgments on a young player when we have that level of performance in the second half.”

Still, Da Silva was determined to make the most of the minutes he was given.

“I was just ready,” Da Silva said. “You always have to be ready for whenever [O’Connor] calls you up.”

Da Silva spent some time on loan with USL side Saint Louis FC on loan as recently as last month, but without OCB, he hasn’t played consistent meaningful games. Saint Louis is coached by OCB coach Anthony Pulis. Da Silva scored a goal against Orange County SC on July 21.

“I took [the loan] as another opportunity to show the coaches that I deserve a chance,” he said. “I just took it as another opportunity and my opportunity came.”

El-Munir called up

A club spokesperson confirmed left back and occasional left winger Mohamed El-Munir has been called up to Libya’s men’s national team ahead of the qualifiers for the 2019 African Cup of Nations. Libya’s group stage match is against South African on Sept. 8.

He’s the third Orlando City player to be called up for upcoming national team work.

Centerback Amro Tarek (Egypt) was also called up for a Cup of Nation’s qualifier. Egypt will play Niger on Sept. 8. Yoshimar Yotún received a call-up to Peru’s men’s national team ahead of friendlies against the Netherlands on Sept. 6 and against Germany on Sept. 9.

All three players will leave Orlando after the Lions’ Saturday match against the Philadelphia Union.

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