Welcome to your match thread for tonight’s Tropic Thunder match-up between Orlando City (2-1-2, 8 points) and the team’s Publix Enemies, Inter Miami CF (0-5-0, 0 points), at Inter Miami CF Stadium in Fort Lauderdale. It’s the first match for both teams since the MLS is Back Tournament and the second ever meeting between these two Florida-based MLS teams. This 8 p.m. match (FOX 35 Plus) will be Orlando City’s first in 11 days and Miami’s first in 33 days.
Here’s what you need to know ahead of the match.
The first Tropic Thunder match went Orlando City’s way, with Nani scoring late to lift the Lions to a 2-1 win over the upstarts from South Florida in the opening match of the MLS is Back Tournament. Despite it being a tournament match, it was also a league game. Juan Agudelo opened the scoring for the Herons in the 47th minute, but Chris Mueller equalized in the 70th, setting the stage for Nani’s 97th-minute winner. That late goal propelled the Lions on a run to the tournament final and sparked its own t-shirt.
The match was a bit sloppy, as it was the first game after the pandemic break. Orlando should be much sharper, but the Herons also have called in some reinforcements so this should be a dandy.
The first time these teams met, the Lions were in search of their first win under Oscar Pareja. Diego Alonso’s Inter Miami squad enters tonight’s game in search of its first franchise win. The Herons will hope that comes tonight in the team’s first ever competitive home game.
Rodolfo Pizarro leads Miami with two of the team’s three goals this season — Agudelo has the other. Midfielder Matias Pellegrini gave the Lions some trouble once he moved inside and was able to create more. Pellegrini and fellow midfielder Lewis Morgan lead the Herons with two assists each. Inter Miami will be difficult to score on with a good back line and a top-notch MLS goalkeeper in Luis Robles.
“What we learned from the tournament is they have players with a lot of intensity,” Pareja said during Thursday’s press conference. “The players are very motivated. They want to keep proving, first to themselves and also our fans, that we’re a good team, that we are growing, and we know where we are at the same time, so we have a plan.”
Inter Miami has added two important pieces that weren’t with the club in the MLS is Back Tournament. Leandro Gonzalez Pirez wasn’t eligible to compete at MLS is Back but the former Atlanta United defender will boost the Miami back line. French midfielder Blaise Matuidi has joined from Juventus. He’ll make the Miami midfield better but the Miami Herald reported a few days ago that he was unlikely to be available for tonight’s match.
In addition, Agudelo was sent off in Miami’s final Group A game at MLS is Back for unsporting behavior in the 90th minute against NYCFC, and will miss tonight due to suspension (h/t Ralf Lance — @RLGK13 on Twitter). Miami rookie striker Robbie Robinson, who left the tournament “bubble” for personal reasons, should be available, as well as center back Roman Torres, who picked up a red card in Miami’s last match before the pandemic stoppage.
Mandatory Match Content
- Our Dave Rohe discussed the three things to watch for in this game.
- This week’s PawedCast includes our key match-ups and predictions for tonight.
Orlando City (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Pedro Gallese.
Defenders: Joao Moutinho, Robin Jansson, Antonio Carlos, Ruan.
Defensive Midfielders: Sebas Mendez, Uri Rosell.
Attacking Midfielders: Nani, Mauricio Pereyra, Junior Urso.
Forward: Daryl Dike.
Bench: Brian Rowe, Kyle Smith, Kamal Miller, Rodrigo Schlegel, Robinho, Chris Mueller, Andres Perea, Tesho Akindele, Benji Michel.
Inter Miami (4-2-3-1)
Goalkeeper: Luis Robles.
Defenders: Ben Sweat, Nicolas Figal, Andrés Reyes, Leandro Gonzalez Pirez.
Defensive Midfielders: Victor Ulloa, Wil Trapp.
Attacking Midfielders: Matias Pellegrini, Rodolfo Pizarro, Lewis Morgan.
Forward: Julian Carranza.
Bench: John McCarthy, A.J. Delagarza, Mikey Ambrose, Dylan Nealis, Lee Nguyen, Jay Chapman, Luis Argudo, Jerome Kiesewetter, Brek Shea.
REF: Armando Villarreal.
AR1: Corey Parker.
AR2: Matthew Osterhouse.
4TH: Elvis Osmanovic.
VAR: Kevin Terry Jr.
AVAR: Jozef Batko.
How to Watch
Match Time: 8 p.m. ET.
Venue: Inter Miami CF Stadium — Fort Lauderdale, FL.
TV: FOX 35 Plus (local only).
Radio: 96.9 FM The Game (English), Accion 97.9 FM and 810 AM (Spanish).
Streaming: The match can be streamed on ESPN+ although it will most likely be blacked out locally.
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Enjoy the game! Go City!