Orlando City fell 2-0 to CF Montreal on Sunday at the Stade Saputo, seeing their 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs campaign come to a close.
Despite the disappointing first-round exit, the team managed a historic season. Orlando City won the US Open Cup to lift their first trophy in eight seasons, and clinched a 2023 Concacaf Champions League berth that comes with the victory.
"It has been a very good season for the club, for the boys," said head coach Oscar Pareja.
"Obviously, we want to give the big prize, our best prize to the fans. That's winning the MLS Cup, but we're growing, and [next] year we get the right to play the most prestigious international tournament in the continent."
Though CF Montreal held the edge on Sunday, Orlando City kicked off well. The team regularly tested goalkeeper James Pantemis in the first half, but failed to finish the chances.
"We had our chances, especially in the first half. In this kind of game, you have to be decisive and you have to finish," Pareja said.
Instead, it was the Canadian side that capitalized on their offensive opportunities. Young figure Ismael Kone capped off a great team goal in the 68th minute, discouraging a once hopeful Orlando side.
"We didn't close our gaps on the right side, and then [Kei] Kamara just found Kone and made that connection, and then we were separate from our defenders at that moment," Pareja said.
But still, Pareja was proud of his team and supporters.
"The boys did a good job on being present on the times that we needed, but we agree, we had our chances, and in these games, you have to score. If you have one, you have two, you have three, you have four, as we did today, you have to put the ball in the back of the net, and it didn't happen.
"They made us very proud. They took this club to a different level, and I think our fans and our people should be very proud of the season that the boys [had]."