Orlando City 2, Inter Miami 1 | MLS is Back Tournament Match Recap
The Designated Player secured all three points in the 97th minute, poking home after a cross fell to him from 10 yards out. It was an opportunistic finish that an onrushing Luis Robles couldn’t deter.
That capped a come-from-behind effort after Juan Agudelo gave Miami the first goal with a close-range finish in the 47th minute. Agudelo peeled to the back post and tapped home a low cross from Victor Ulloa after the latter combined with Matias Pellegrini in the 18-yard box.
Nani’s first key moment arose in the 70th minute as Orlando made it 1-1, equalizing via a back-post run from Chris Mueller. The Lions’ winger was quickest to a driven cross from Nani, who used a burst of speed to create from the left flank.
A scary moment arose in the 51st minute when Miami center back Andres Reyes went down after a clash with Orlando striker Dom Dwyer. Reyes needed to be stretchered off and was subbed out for playmaker Rodolfo Pizarro, who started the match on the bench.
That incident prompted 10 minutes of second-half stoppage time, and ultimately resulted in Orlando's first win under head coach Oscar Pareja.
Man of the Match presented by Heineken
Nani didn’t feature in Orlando’s first two games of 2020 due to suspension, but the Portuguese star picked up right where he left off in 2019. He provided a goal and assist for the Lions, building off last year’s showing of 12 goals and 10 assists. DPs are paid to produce, and he’s doing exactly that.
- THE BIG PICTURE: MLS is back. It’s in the tournament’s name and it’s a simple statement, but the thought prevails as Group A gets underway down in Orlando. There was also history made, as the Lions beat Miami in the league’s first all-Florida game since the early 2000s. Whichever storyline leads for you, top-flight men’s soccer is back in North America during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: This area usually goes to an in-match moment, but what preceded the Group A opener was too poignant to leave out. Over 100 Black MLS players, as part of the Black Players for Change, protested before the opening match at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Their demonstration lasted 8 minutes and 46 seconds in a tribute to George Floyd, providing a powerful visual that’s worth rewatching.
- YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: Teams can utilize five substitutes during the MLS is Back Tournament instead of the usual three, a rule change that Oscar Pareja and Diego Alonso both utilized to full effect. Teams have been training for weeks, but match fitness will be a prevailing theme as depth is tested.
- ORL: Tuesday, July 14 vs. NYCFC (8 pm ET | TUDN in US, TSN in Canada)
- MIA: Tuesday, July 14 vs. Philadelphia Union (10:30 pm ET | TUDN in US; TSN in Canada)