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Orlando City rookie Chris Mueller not focused on individual success

Orlando City SC forward Chris Mueller (17) fields the ball in the second half against the Colorado Rapids at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. (Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports)

Orlando City rookie Chris Mueller isn’t too concerned with his recent scoring drought.

He’s just doing what he’s done since the start of his MLS career. He’s putting his head down and going to work.

Mueller hasn’t scored a goal since recording the fastest goal in Orlando City’s MLS history 63 seconds into the Lions’ match against the San Jose Earthquakes on April 21 – his third game in a row with a goal. He hasn’t scored in four starts since then, though he picked up an assist in Orlando City’s 2-1 loss to Toronto FC on Friday.

The youngster is only concerned with the overall success of the club – he was the same way when he was on his scoring tear.

“I’m doing some extra finishing after training and I’m just trying to stay true to what I’m doing and just continue to do what I know how to do, you know?” Mueller said before training on Thursday. “The goals will come with good team performances. As long as we’re winning these games – we’ve got to start getting back into a rhythm – it’ll all come from there.”

Mueller said he’s sought advice from a few different players with the club. He started off the season as a striker but has since been moved to wing next to Sacha Kljestan. Justin Meram, who plays on the left side, has been a reliable source of tips and tricks, Mueller said.

He said his game has come a long way since his college days at Wisconsin. He’s been particularly focused on positioning and movement off the ball.

To that end, he’s been a sponge, taking advice from anyone with the club willing to give it.

“Justin’s had a lot of experience on the wing and as I’m [transitioning] to that position, he’s given me a lot of experience,” Mueller said. “I’m taking it all and just trying to learn and continue to improve every day.”

Like the more experienced members of the team, Mueller isn’t overly worried about the recent two-game slide. The Lions (6-4-1, 19 points) have been held to just one goal in each of the last two matches after scoring multiple goals in six consecutive outings, all of which were victories.

Striker Dom Dwyer also missed the club’s last match.

“Obviously, missing Dom, he’s a big piece of the attack and he’s important to the team, so it’s hard to replace,” Mueller said. “We’ve got the guys for it. I think we’ve just got to continue to play well. It’s just the way soccer goes. Sometimes the ball, the rub of the grass, just doesn’t go your way that night. I think that we’ve put in a couple of solid performances.

“We’ve played well. We’ve played good soccer. We’ve controlled matches – that’s been one of our main objectives, to start getting control of the games. That stuff is going to come. We’ve just got to keep playing the game we know and continue to be who we are.”  

The Lions return to action on Saturday at home against the Chicago Fire. 

Lions to face Miami United in Open Cup

The fourth-round matchups of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup were announced on Thursday and Orlando City will face National Premier Soccer League side Miami United FC at 7:30 p.m. on June 6 at Ted Hendricks Stadium in Hialeah.

Orlando City did not apply to be a host for the fourth round of the tournament. When asked why, club officials cited the schedules of Orlando City and the Orlando Pride.

Orlando City has away matches on June 2 (NYCFC) and June 9 (Vancouver). The Pride has an away match on June 3 against the Seattle Reign.

Da Silva, Lindley loaned to Saint Louis FC

Orlando City has loaned midfielders Cam Lindley and Pierre Da Silva to USL side Saint Louis FC for one match.

Saint Louis plays Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC on Saturday.

Lindley, a 20-year-old rookie, made three starts for Orlando City earlier in the season as a holding midfielder, before the club switched to a 4-2-3-1 formation. Da Silva, 19, hasn’t started for the club yet this season but made 49 OCB appearances over 2016 and 2017.

Midfielder Tony Rocha was loaned to Saint Louis earlier this season.

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