Orlando City within reach of lead in East, Shield race: "We can beat any team in MLS"

Oct 3, 2020; Orlando, Florida, USA; Orlando City players celebrate after the game against the New York Red Bulls at Orlando City Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Stamey-USA TODAY Sports

Orlando City SC's latest win against the New York Red Bulls, a 3–1 victory, vaulted them to within reach of first place in the Eastern Conference and the top spot for the Supporters' Shield.

After missing the postseason for their first five seasons in MLS, Orlando are not only in a strong position to make the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs for the first time in team history, but they're also very much in the Shield race for the best record in MLS with just eight matches left to play in the 2020 regular season.

So it's little wonder that during the post-game press conference, when asked about his team's chances, despite the number of players missing to injury or to international call-ups, right back Kyle Smith said Orlando's confidence was "sky high." 

“I think that we know that we could beat any team in this league and I think that personally, this is a new feeling for me this year compared to last year for example," said Smith, who registered his first MLS assist on the first goal. "I go into every game knowing that we have a great chance of winning the game and that we should win the game.

"It shows that our confidence is high and I think that everyone in the team feels that way, too. We go into every game wanting the three points, whether it’s a home game, an away game. We want the ball, we want the three points and we are going to try our best to get those points.”

Highlights: Orlando City 3, NY Red Bulls 1

Smith also discussed how his team has emphasized the press, and his team's desire to win the ball, which was on display against New York. Orlando had more possession, and while New York had more shots, the home side was more effective in almost every meaningful statistic: passing accuracy, crosses, effectiveness in the final third, crosses, even clearances. 

“The mood is super high," said Orlando rookie Daryl Dike. "We’ve been kind of rolling through, many games unbeaten and it’s just another three points, especially to get it at home and do it in that fashion, as well.”

The Lions will put their nine-match unbeaten streak on the line in a rivalry match on Wednesday against Atlanta United (7 p.m. ET on ESPN+).