Sun, 13 Jun 2021

Orlando City's Nani takes 3-game scoring streak to D.C.

Field Level Media
16 May 2021, 05:19 GMT+10

Orlando City captain Nani is on a three-game scoring streak, but he isn't too fulfilled due to his club's results.

The 34-year-old star from Portugal aims to get Orlando City (1-0-3, 6 points) back in the win column Sunday night when the Lions visit D.C. United.

Nani has scored three of the team's five goals, but the offense has failed to find consistency. The team has scored more than one goal only once this season - a 3-0 result against winless Cincinnati.

The 1-1 home tie with New York City FC on May 8 left him pondering what he can do differently.

"It's good to score, but I think I need to continue to focus to help the team on winning the games," said Nani, who has 21 goals in 53 matches during his two-plus seasons with the team. "Sometimes I will score beautiful goals."

After all, this is a player who has scored 96 goals in 17 club seasons playing for the likes of Manchester United and Sporting CP before joining Orlando City in MLS in 2019.

"But for me it's not the most important thing -- scoring goals," he said. "It's helping the team any way inside the field."

Orlando City coach Oscar Pareja certainly has no qualms with what Nani is accomplishing on the pitch.

"Nani represents, with his performance, what is a good mode of the team," Pareja said. "I think he's finishing, scoring important goals for us, buying time as well to recover some other plays that are important for the squad."

D.C. United (2-3-0, 6 points) notched a 1-0 victory over the visiting Chicago Fire on Thursday to halt a three-game slide. Edison Flores scored his first MLS goal in the seventh minute and the tally held up as goalkeeper Jon Kempin kept a clean sheet in his first start of the season.

The victory, not to mention the defensive improvement, was much-needed after D.C. United was outscored 8-2 during the three losses.

"We were in a little drought, and we just needed to find ways to get out of it," said forward Adrien Perez, who is in his first season with the club. "So this victory was extremely important."

Even with the struggles, the six points have D.C. United tied for fourth place with Orlando and two other teams in the young season.

Kempin's third career shutout came in his first MLS start in more than 22 months. He spent most of the 2020 campaign with the San Diego Loyal of the United Soccer League and had five shutouts in 10 starts.

--Field Level Media

More St Petersburg (Florida) News

Access More

Sign up for The St Petersburg News

a daily newsletter full of things to discuss over drinks.and the great thing is that it's on the house!