Orlando City’s Antonio Nocerino plays well in MLS debut


Adrian Hernandez / Valencia Voice

Antonio Nocerion played 62 minutes in his MLS debut.

Orlando filled the house tonight with 29,041 fans in attendance as Orlando City took on the Chicago Fire in their 2nd home game of the season and also the debut of former European football player, Antonio Nocerino.

Nocerino has been out of football for quite some time now, having played his last game in August last year, but showed no signs of slump as he gave the Lions a solid 62 minutes of play while completing 84% of his passes and creating a goal opportunity in his MLS debut. Orlando City manager Adrian Heath feels Nocerino has a bright future with the team regardless of his recent inactivity.

“Obviously he has not played football for a long time so my thought is he’ll only get better as we progress.” stated Heath in the postgame press conference.

Even though Nocerino has only been in Orlando for 2 weeks now, and has not had nearly as much time to spend with the team like the other players have, he seemed to fit very comfortably with the teams play and strategy in their 1-1 draw tonight against Chicago Fire.

“I had a great first experience despite just playing sixty minutes. I really miss playing. I’m working on getting back in shape, and the feeling was just fantastic.” Nocerino stated following the match.

When opposing Chicago Fire head coach, Veljko Paunovic, was asked on how his team prepared for the possibility of Nocerino starting in Orlando’s lineup, his response was not too appraising towards the Italian football player.

“We prepared for all of them”, stated Paunovic, referencing that the team had prepared for everyone in a way where no special preparation had to be made for any specific player.

Although Nocerino is not making a lot of noise around the MLS, like many of the other European players coming to America are, Orlando still has big hopes for Nocerino being a key part of the Lions team moving forward.

Orlando City’s next match will be at New York City FC on Friday, March 18 where Nocerino is expected to start his second game in a row, going up against other former European soccer stars in David Villa and Andrea Pirlo.