But one player was able to get on the scoresheet for the visitors and spirit away three points – newcomer Facundo Torres, whose first-ever MLS goal made the difference in a 1-0 road win at Dignity Health Sports Park.
Orlando expect big things from the 21-year-old Uruguayan, paying a reported club-record $7.5 million transfer fee in January to pry him away from Penarol – where he developed into a promising young player – to the center of the Lions' final-third reinvention. How they'll fare in life After Nani will hinge, in large part, on how the Young Designated Player acclimates to the league.
"It was a highlight of the game to see the participation of Ercan Kara, serving in that great ball, and Facundo being able to score just went in three points today with that combination is more than good for us," head coach Oscar Pareja noted of their two new DPs linking up, with Kara arriving from Austria's Rapid Vienna.
Pareja also noted that his gameplan involved his new winger being in the literal center of the action.
"We wanted to congest the middle with him," he said of Torres, "knowing that in the last games he had had some opportunities just coming from behind," he remarked. "He's heavy coming in the back, so we wanted to have a bunch of things in motion – that was the idea of the game."
Torres recognized Kara's contribution on his headed goal, noting through a translator that Kara "was able to get the ball high up the field, and I knew that he was going to put it inside. I just needed to anticipate where he was going to put the ball and try and find the space and the defenders. Thankfully, I was able to get up and now we're taking the goal and three points home as I go back to Uruguay for the international window."
Though Torres' first goal in MLS is an important milestone, it's also an indication of where he's at in his transition to a new country and new league.
"I've already started to accommodate so much to this league and to this team actually now," he remarked. "Taking care of some of the off-field stuff that comes [with] transition[ing] to a different country. I already have my house in Orlando, and so thankfully I'm able to keep my head 100% on my football now. I think things are things are starting to go well."
And the acclimation, in Torres' view, is extending to what's happening on the field as well as off it as Orlando chase a third straight Audi MLS Cup Playoffs appearance in 2022.
"We all are kind of accommodating to the way that Oscar wants us to play," Torres said. "You know, we all play a good game, but also a beautiful game, but it's not just enough to play beautiful. You have to play good and make sure that you're taking advantage of your opponents. So I think we've done a good job of that and implementing what Oscar wants us to do. I think we're all kind of integrating into the scene."