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Pierre Da Silva works to impress as Orlando City tops Minnesota in unofficial scrimmage

Entering his third professional year, Pierre Da Silva knows he’ll have to work a lot harder in 2018 to earn time with Orlando City.

Twice as hard, especially after the club opted to forgo Orlando City B’s participation in the 2018 USL season.

“It’s harder competition now because there’s no OCB. … OCB was a steadfast development to get to MLS,” Da Silva said on Saturday. “We don’t have that no more, so we have to step it up every training.”

Da Silva, 19, flourished with OCB, scoring five goals and recording 11 assists during 49 appearances with the second team in a two-year span from 2016-2017. An impressive 2016 season, however, eventually landed him a first-team contract prior to the 2017 season, making him the first Orlando City player to get promoted from the development academy to the first team.

But with OCB out of the picture in 2018, the attacking midfielder acknowledges he must play at a higher level if he wants to see any playing time for the Lions this season.

“I have to step it up every training, every session and games like this to show the coaches I deserve a couple more minutes,” Da Silva said.

Da Silva participated in Saturday’s preseason training scrimmage between Orlando City and Minnesota United. Orlando unofficially won 4-1 courtesy of two goals from rookie Chris Mueller and one apiece from Sacha Kljestan and Will Johnson.

Dwyer recovers

Dom Dwyer is getting closer to full recovery after missing the first two weeks of preseason camp with the Lions because of an injured hamstring.

“He is moving in a very forward direction,” Orlando City coach Jason Kreis said. “Over the last two days, he’s been involved in the training sessions. We’ll continue to build him and we expect to see match minutes this week coming up.”

Josué Colmán’s return to the practice field could be further delayed.

“The knock [that] he actually picked up in Jacksonville is more severe than I thought in our opening press conference [Monday,]” Kreis said of Colmán’s quad contusion. “We found out that afternoon his injury is more severe than I even thought. So, we’re looking at a couple weeks until he can actually join us at training.”

Midfielder Cam Lindley suffered a hamstring tweak during Saturday’s scrimmage, but Kreis did not list a timeline for his recovery.

Orlando City takes on the Philadelphia Union on Wednesday in a closed-door scrimmage at Sylvan Lake Park.

Heath returns

Former Orlando City and current Minnesota United coach Adrian Heath wrapped up two weeks of preseason training in Central Florida with his side on Saturday.

Returning to the Lions’ old training ground for one day brought back a lot of memories for Heath.

“It was a great period for me down here,” Heath said. “… Everybody made me feel at home and were great to my family. It’s nice to come back and meet so many friendly faces.”

Heath and Minnesota trained mostly at Eastern Florida State College in Melbourne before closing preseason camp in Florida at Sylvan Lake Park in Sanford.

Heath’s first match at Orlando City Stadium will be March 10 when the Lions host the Loons.

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