Major League Soccer

Oscar Pareja praises Orlando City unity following DC United win

Chris Smith
Orlando City had to wait until the 97th minute for Daryl Dike's winning goal against DC United.
Orlando City had to wait until the 97th minute for Daryl Dike's winning goal against DC United. / Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Orlando City manager Oscar Pareja has praised his side's 'unity' following their late 2-1 comeback win over DC United in MLS on Saturday.

Goals from Robin Jansson and Daryl Dike - the latter not arriving until the 97th minute - were enough to overturn Julian Gressel's early opener.

It was a most welcome victory for the Lions who, prior to Saturday night, had suffered a run of five MLS games without a win, picking up just a single point during that time.

Speaking after the match (via Orlando's official website), Pareja praised his players for remaining united in the face of adversity, crediting the "hard work" they've put in to turn results around.

“It was a very important night for us and it was emotional, of course," he said.

"We have seen how hard the players have worked to get over this hurdle, this period of three weeks where we couldn’t get the results.

"The players were really united and after dominating the game, being constant in our purpose and idea of the game. One point was not enough for them. In front of our fans, they brought that energy at the end and it was probably what we were looking for to change the road now.

"That’s what makes it emotional. I have seen the players grinding and working and pushing and they deserve all the credit and obviously our fans here today, pushing and helping us.

"I think we were the best team on the field. I think we got the three points because we were always constant in our intentions in trying to hurt [D.C.] United, who are a very good team. Today our heart was bigger and that’s what we’re very proud of.”

Despite their recent slump, Orlando's win over DC lifts them back into third place in what is a very tightly-packed Eastern Conference. Just three points separate them from Atlanta United in eighth, just below the playoff line, while Pareja's men are only 10 points clear of Inter Miami in 11th.

Up next for the Lions is a trip to bottom-of-the-east FC Cincinnati on Saturday.