For Orlando City midfielder Richie Laryea, it’s not enough just to see the pitch on game day.
If he’s called upon, he’s going to do whatever he can to make a difference.
Laryea came on for rookie Cam Lindley in the 66th minute of Orlando City’s season opener against D.C. United, which ended in a 1-1 draw. With the Lions playing a man down, Laryea provided a spark with his speed.
He was the second Orlando City sub of the night – striker Stéfano Pinho came on in the 58th minute and right back R.J. Allen was Orlando City’s final sub of the evening in the 81st minute, while the club was looking for an equalizer, down 1-0 to United.
All three subs were pleased with what they did Saturday night, but of course, they’re looking to increase their roles.
“I felt very good for the opener,” Laryea said. “I thought it was a good game for us. Even being a man down, we still fought really hard and everyone’s energy was very good, I thought.
“Whenever I’m picked or called upon to come on, obviously the coaches want energy off the bench, guys that are going to make an impact, make a difference, just like Pinho did – he came in and scored the tying goal for us. Just provide a spark for the entire team, not just yourself.”
Pinho’s goal saved a point for and Orlando City side that spent the entire second half playing with 10 men.
After the match, Pinho was asked if he thinks he’s earned a spot in the starting XI.
He said just smiled and said, “I’m working for the chance to come in, to score and if I have the chance to start, it’s good for me.”
Allen was playing in his first match in purple for Orlando City – he was acquired via trade from NYCFC as part of a massive roster overhaul before the 2018 season began.
Allen said he’s looking to play “week-in and week-out.”
“It was definitely a bit hectic and crazy, but obviously I’m the guy that just wanted to bring energy to the game in that moment and provide as much as I can for the team,” Allen said.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity and just happy with how things went when I was on the pitch. I thought I played really well in those 10, 15 minutes and I brought something to the table.”
Laryea – and the rest of Saturday’s subs – will likely get more opportunities to shine early this season. Midfielders Sacha Kljestan (suspension), Pierre Da Silva (suspension), Victor “PC” Giro (suspension), Dillon Powers (ankle) Uri Rosell (fitness) and Josué Colmán (quad contusion) are all out for at least Saturday’s match against Minnesota United.
“Trainings have to be – obviously – top notch for me,” Laryea said. “And then whenever I’m playing games, I have to be top notch as well.”
Kreis on PC’s red card
Coach Jason Kreis, speaking to the media Wednesday afternoon, said the one negative thing he found in Orlando City’s opener against D.C. United was PC’s ejection.
Kries said PC’s red card showed “a little bit of a lack of discipline.” Orlando City SC elected not to appeal the red card – PC was sent off in the 41st minute of Saturday’s match for violent conduct – and Kreis originally said the decision was “odd.”
“It’s a particular area that we’ve been talking about in the preseason, that we want to be a disciplined team this year and a very focused team this year on what our objective is,” Kreis said. “To take any ejection, and certainly one like that, where I feel it was avoidable, is not a good thing for our team.”
Rookie striker Chris Mueller, who started Saturday’s season opener, trained away from the rest of the team Thursday morning. Team officials say nothing’s wrong, he’s just following a separate training schedule.
Striker Dom Dwyer and Colmán trained together, but away from the rest of the team. Rosell also trained away from the team, as did midfielder Dillon Powers.