Sunday, June 24, 2018

Yotun and Orlando dreaming big in pursuit of MLS play-offs

SoccerNews in MLS 18 May 2018

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Reaching the MLS play-offs for the first time is the goal for Yoshimar Yotun and Orlando City, though the Peru international is also dreaming of the final.

Since their introduction to MLS in 2015, Orlando have provided plenty of star quality and colour, however play-off football has been missing in Florida.

Ballon d’Or winner Kaka, former Real Madrid forward Julio Baptista and ex-AC Milan midfielder Antonio Nocerino all spent time at Orlando, though none were able to deliver post-season berths following the club’s 18th-place finish in 2017.

However, with the likes of Yotun, Dom Dwyer and Sacha Kljestan leading the way under head coach Jason Kreis, Orlando find themselves firmly entrenched in the play-off picture – the Lions fourth in the Eastern Conference and six points adrift of leaders Atlanta United.

Asked about Orlando’s play-off aspirations, Yotun told Omnisport: “I think that Orlando deserve it because of how good we are playing.

“Also because our fans, because all of our staff, which do a magnificent job. This club deserve to reach the play-offs and we are working towards this goal.”

The 28-year-old added: “Our first goal is clear. This is a run that consists in making as much points as possible in order to be inside the best of the conference.

“Our first goal is the play-offs, then we will go as far as we can, and why not be a bit adventurous and reach the final.”

Orlando made a slow start to the season, failing to win any of their opening three matches, with two defeats.

However, Orlando reeled off six successive victories – a run ended by Atlanta last week – to emerge as a serious play-off contender.

“The team is well. We knew it would be difficult because of the bunch of new players. It is not easy to confront a hard league like this one with so many players,” continued Yotun, who has scored three goals and tallied five assists this season.

“But we have understood each other a lot within a short time.

“That results influence your energy and the mental aspect, giving you a unique confidence, to win after win. We won two matches far from our stadium, which is very important. And at our home we are getting strong and that’s what we want.”

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