Orlando City Feature -- www.orlandocitysoccer.com
Thursday, January 31, 2013
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Orlando City goalkeeper and captain Miguel Gallardo is looking forward to the start of preseason and continuing City’s dominance in the USL PRO.
“We have a system and Adrian [Heath] is loyal to the system, but it’s always a team effort,” Gallardo said after Tuesday’s practice at the Seminole Soccer Complex. “This team doesn’t consist of one player making a big difference, it’s about 11 players trying to make something collectively.”
The Lions began 2013 competing in a friendly against Italian Serie A side AS Roma, falling 5-0 at Rollins College. Gallardo played the full 90 minutes and expressed how that match was a great experience.
“Roma was in midseason form, but playing against a team that plays football on such a high level is always great learning experience,” he added. “We learned and played collectively. Now we just have to carry that onto preseason and regular season.”
With a couple notable players not coming back for the 2013 season, Gallardo says the team’s structure is good enough to produce players that can fit in the starting XI.
“Everybody here in Orlando sees we’re getting bigger and bigger everyday and wants to be a part of it,” said Gallardo on Orlando City’s open tryouts and the talent that could be found. “I understand local players are trying to get in and get a spot with the local team, so good luck.”
Orlando City will partake in its third Disney Pro Soccer Classic when they open play against Major League Soccer’s Philadelphia Union on Feb. 9 before taking on Toronto F.C. and Columbus Crew.
The Lions, who are no strangers to competing against MLS clubs, last played Philadelphia a year ago when they hosted the Union at the Citrus Bowl as the teams played to a 1-1 draw.
“We’re excited and looking forward to it,” said Gallardo. “It’s preseason, so obviously it’s about getting in shape to have a successful season.”
Besides the Disney tournament, Gallardo is more eager to begin the long-awaited I-4 Derby between Orlando City and the Tampa Bay Rowdies when the first leg begins on March 9 at the Citrus Bowl.
“We played against them 2-3 years ago when we were the Aztex and they were always physical matches,” Gallardo told Orlandocitysoccer.com. “It’s something personal, I want to beat everybody, but Tampa Bay is a close rival."