Orlando City fended off Inter Miami in a chippy match at Exploria Stadium. Former Lion Brek Shea scored for Miami, but Mauricio Pereyra’s goal and unofficial assist led the Lions to a 2-1 win. The win improves Orlando’s record to 5-2-4 with 19 points. The Lions also jump into fourth place in the Supporter’s Shield standings.
Here are the five big takeaways from the match:
There were three free kicks in dangerous places for Orlando in the first half. Nani hit the crossbar on the first one. The second one was a little farther out. Still, Pereyra sent in a perfect ball, which led to the match’s opening goal — an own goal from Miami’s Andrés Reyes. Nani took the third free kick, and it was on frame. Unluckily for him, Luis Robles made a great diving save to deny the chance. There were not many free kicks in the second half for Orlando. On the other side, Miami had a handful of free kicks in their attacking third but need to go back to the training ground and improve them. Ultimately, it was that second chance from Orlando that changed the game.
Orlando had 68% possession in the first half. Miami made some substitutions and changed to a 3-5-2 in the second half. This led to the visitors having more of the ball, and the game opened up a bit after halftime. The match finished with Orlando holding 54% of the ball. Both teams had long spells of possessions. Miami was able to use it to find a goal just after the hour mark. Orlando was unable to use its possession to score more than once in the first half, despite the massive difference. However, immediately after Miami’s goal, the Lions hit back. It was not a long spell of possession but an excellent passing sequence. This further emphasizes that possession does not mean much in soccer. This is why Oscar Pareja stresses that Orlando uses possession with a purpose so much.
Throughout the season, Miami has gotten a plethora of chances on the counter attack. This hurt Orlando City in the past and Miami clearly looked to continue this trend on Saturday. The first real chance from the counter came in the 25th minute. After a poor Orlando corner, Miami went on the counter, and the Lions struggled to defend it. Rodolfo Pizarro was caught offside on a pass from Robbie Robinson. Miami had another great chance in the 55th minute. Orlando looked like they could get back defensively, but Robbie Robinson beat Antonio Carlos and Rodrigo Schlegel.
Orlando did well to limit Miami’s counter attacks. Still, the few that Miami had Orlando was lucky did not end in a goal.
Weird Video Review Sequence
Schlegel was given his second yellow card in the 76th minute. There was no call on the field, but the play went to review after a pause for referee Ismail Elfath to talk it over with VAR Christina Unkel. There seems to be no way that the referee made a “clear and obvious” error. It was a bang-bang play, and the call on the field should have stayed, even if the referee called a penalty. But the call was initially changed to a penalty and a second yellow on Schlegel.
But that wasn’t the end of it. Elfath again put his hand to his earpiece. After another pause in the action, Elfath made the video review signal for the second time and called offside. It was a confusing few minutes for viewers, and the players from both teams were upset with how everything unfolded. Regardless of your thought on video review, the process needs to be much smoother than this.
If this game could be described in two words, it is: rivalry match. Orlando City vs. Inter Miami is turning into a real rivalry, and this match had it all. The physicality of the two teams alone speaks volumes. There was a total of 34 fouls — which averages to a foul once every 2.5 minutes. There were also six yellow cards, but there could easily have been more handed out to both teams. The match also had a few hot exchanges between players, who are obviously all in on the rivalry.
Be sure to comment below to tell us how you thought of the match.