On Thursday night, the Orlando City SC punched their ticket to the MLS Is Back finals after beating Minnesota United 3-1.
After a close match all game, Orlando was able to tack on a last-minute insurance goal. That is when the celebration began.
Oscar Pereja proves his worth
Orlando City SC had been a bad team for a majority of their five-year history. That is what makes the turnaround this season so surreal. The club didn’t make any massive changes to their roster.
Except the Head Coach.
Pereja is known around the MLS for turning clubs around. He took a downward trending Colorado Rapids team in 2012 and turned them into a playoff team in 2013. Additionally, he made a middling FC Dallas team and made them an annual contender.
Pereja knew he would turn it around. But even he has to be surprised at how quickly he has done so.
“We’re very happy to be in the final,” Head Coach Oscar Pareja said after the match. “It’s been a great tournament and a great opportunity for our players to represent the franchise and the club and I think they have done a great job. And very well deserved to be in the final — and tonight against a very good team.”
Orlando City SC will meet the Portland Timbers in the MLS finals after they took care of Philadelphia Union in the other semifinal.
The match, scheduled for Aug. 11, will feature two of the hottest teams in the MLS.
Orlando holds the edge in head-to-head matches with Portland with a record of 3-1-1.