ORLANDO, Fla. -- It was the "rocket" moment for which coach Jason Kreis had been waiting, and it meant a lot to everyone at Orlando City SC. For Carlos "Rocket" Rivas, his opening goal in the 2-0 win over the Colorado Rapids on Saturday night also served as a major statement of MLS intent.
The Colombian flyer had been one of Orlando’s big success stories in the early going, but he hadn’t added a goal to his resume in the opening six matches.
The 23-year-old was relegated to the bench for game number seven, only to emerge as a 59th-minute substitute and unleash a net-bursting pile driver.
“I was really, really pleased for him today that he finally gets the goal that breaks the camel’s back, hopefully,” Kreis said. “I believe we’re going to see some incredible things from him going forward.”
“I think often times with players that are strikers, they occasionally need to take a little bit of a different picture of the game from sitting on the sidelines and relieve a bit of the pressure about starting the game, and then come in and contribute,” Kreis said. “And he made a massive one today.”
Rivas was jubilant with his performance, as well as the golazo of a strike, but he claimed it was only what he expected of himself.
“I wasn’t really concerned about [being on the bench],” he said through an interpreter. “I knew I was going to come into the game and do good things. At the end of the day it was important to go out there and just be me and give the fans something to cheer about.”
For the players, it was vindication of all the hard work Rivas has put in during preseason on his fitness and the support play he has provided to Larin.
“It was an amazing goal,” Kaká said. “Not just him but everybody was waiting for this goal. This kind of goal was special because he has a very good shot, and I think it helps Carlos to understand how important he is for the group right now.”
Defender Scott Sutter was just happy to finally benefit from one of Rivas’ trademark strikes after being victimized by them in practice.
“What a goal that was,” he said. “But we see it in training daily. He has got one hell of a strike on him. It was a great shot and we’re all really pleased for him.”