There’s no place like home for Orlando City forward Carlos Rivas.
On Saturday afternoon at Orlando City Stadium, that cliché was reminiscent and synonymous to the Colombian forward.
Rivas is still searching for his first goal of the year for the Lions, but after an impressive outing against the LA Galaxy, there was a brief moment where fans at the stadium began shouting his name.
“Rivas! Rivas! Rivas!”
It was at that moment where he felt emotional.
“It makes me extremely happy because they used to do the same thing in Colombia, but never with the same excitement as they do here,” said Carlitos after the team’s 2-1 win. “I feel that the fans really appreciate and support me and that is really important.”
It was the former Deportivo Cali player’s birthday, who turned 23 years old on Saturday. But that moment for Rivas came at the right time, who struggled to find the net for most of the game.
His presence in the final third was felt after finishing with two shots with one on target and creating two chances after 75 minutes on the field.
The goals will come, according to head coach Jason Kreis, but he understands it can be frustrating for the forward. Until then, he still manages to have an impact on the field for the Lions.
“I don’t know. I’m sure that he is a little bit [frustrated], but I would ask a little bit of the question of ‘is he in front of the goal for the easier chances?’ It seems like his chances now are from shots from distance,” said Kreis. “He’s playing a lot of excellent passes for the players around him so his role on the team is very vital, he’s been a top performer from my point of view. He doesn’t have a goal, I would love him to have one, I’m sure he would love to have one as well. But if he continues to work hard and make all those other plays for us, we’ll be just fine.”
Rivas has tallied two assists thus far this season for the Lions.
His strike partner Cyle Larin backed-up his belief on him after Saturday’s game.
“I think [Carlos Rivas] played very well, and he’s been working very hard,” said Larin. “He causes defenders problems and he opens up space for me. I think he will get a goal if he keeps working. I train with him. We’ll work on it.”
The Lions are off to their best start in their short MLS history with a 4-1-0 record. A big change from last year, according to the Colombian.
A change that will eventually open up an opportunity to score his first goal of the 2017 campaign.
“It’s a completely different team. We have a lot more attitude, ambition to qualify and that’s really important,” said Rivas.
(Photos Courtesy of Orlando City)