Sun, 09 Aug 2020

Orlando City rallies as MLS returns to action

Field Level Media
09 Jul 2020, 12:55 GMT+10

Nani scored in the seventh minute of stoppage time as Orlando City SC rallied for a 2-1 victory over Inter Miami CF in the first game of the MLS is Back Tournament on Wednesday night near Orlando.

In the league's first contest in 122 days, Nani took a loose ball in the box, positioned himself and broke a late tie with a strike past Miami goalkeeper Luis Robles to give Orlando City (1-1-1, 4 points) its first win for new head coach Oscar Pareja.

Miami (0-3-0) opened the scoring when Juan Agudelo nailed a brilliant cross in the 47th minute for the first goal of the league's restart from the coronavirus pandemic interruption. Orlando City's Chris Mueller leveled the match off a Nani cross in the 70th minute, that was deflected by Robles.

Played amid the confines of a "bubble" at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, there were no fans in attendance for the Group A match. The "MLS is Back Tournament" features all but one of the league's 26 teams organized in six groups in a World Cup-style competition.

Agudelo got the first quality chance in the ninth minute when he broke free near the far post, but his chip went high and wide. Meanwhile, Mueller delivered the first major opportunity for Orlando in the 22nd minute, but Robles made a diving stop.

In a moment of concern, Miami's Andres Reyes' was stretched off the pitch after a collision with Orlando's Dom Dwyer in the 51st minute. Reyes reportedly was having trouble breathing following the contact.

Prior to the start of the match, more than a 100 black MLS players stood on the pitch in silence for several minutes, raising their fists while the starters from both teams knelt. The protest was designed to raise awareness for social injustice, and featured members of the league's Black Players for Change, according to the official MLS website.

Players wore black shirts, drawing attention to social and racial injustice concerns in the wake of the recent death of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis. Players also sported face masks with the words "BLACK LIVES MATTER" and "MLS is BLACK."

--Field Level Media

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