Just a few days ago, Orlando City head coach Oscar Pareja talked about his team's "responsibility to win" against their in-state rivals Inter Miami.
The Lions players took that responsibility to heart on Saturday night, silencing the Herons faithful in Fort Lauderdale with a convincing 3-1 win on the road.
It was a massive victory in more ways than one, as it snapped a four-match winless streak across all competitions. Having that win coming against their rivals just down I-95, with a few hundred Orlando supporters in attendance having traveled down for the match, makes it that much sweeter.
“Beyond the three points that are very important for us, it means a lot," Lions head coach Oscar Pareja said. "We're very happy to have such a performance here on this field against a main rival. We are very proud.
“I want to highlight that these three (points) were for our fans. Obviously, it’s a derby for the fans that are in Orlando, but especially the ones that came it was very emotional for us to see that corner dressed in purple and trusting the team and supporting us. They deserve the best, and I promise that we won’t stop working to see if we can get this better and better.”
HIGHLIGHTS: Orlando City SC 3, Inter Miami CF 1
Through the first half of the match, the Lions were able to control the flow of the game, not allowing Miami to even attempt a shot. It was only until the second half they were able to get one, but only managed two on target throughout the match.
“I think we played one of our best 35 minutes in the first half,” Pareja said. “We dominated the game. We had personality to dominate the possession and create chances."
“In the first half, I thought we all had a great game,” midfielder Cesar Araujo said. “Being able to maintain that zero (shots against) in the first half was very important to set ourselves up in the second half. I think we hit all together in a great moment, and we were able to take home three points.”
One of the talisman's of the result was forward Ercan Kara, who has hit a tremendous scoring stride. After coming back from injury in late April, Kara has played in six matches, scoring four goals and adding two assists. On Saturday night, he scored the opening goal of the match and made the game-winning assist to Martin Ojeda in the 68th minute.
Both Kara and rookie Duncan McGuire now have four goals each, making up half of the total goals the Lions have scored as a team.
As Orlando look ahead to next week, the momentum from their performance, as well as the play from their in-form striker, should make for an exciting matchup against Atlanta United in Orlando.