Sometimes, a performance is so good, you can be the best player on the field and only play a half.
That was Antonio Carlos on Wednesday night against Inter Miami. The Brazilian center back locked up star striker Gonzalo Higuaín and then provided Orlando City a goal on his final play of the game before leaving at halftime as a precaution.
The goal itself was straight off the training ground. Nani played a corner short to Mauricio Pereyra and received it back just outside the top near corner of the penalty area. The captain played in a poisonous cross and Antonio Carlos rose spectacularly to meet it, slamming it across goalkeeper Nick Marsman and into the back of the net.
On the way down, Antonio Carlos took a hard head-to-head shot from Miami’s Kelvin Leerdam and had to come out of the game shortly afterwards. The Brazilian was able to walk off under his own power and showed a heart symbol to the crowd upon his exit.
Prior to the goal, Antonio Carlos was primarily dealing with Gonzalo Higuaín, one of the league’s most accomplished and highest-paid players. The Orlando defender completely shut down the Miami striker, leading the team with seven ball recoveries despite only playing 45 minutes and limiting Higuaín to under 20 touches and no shots. Antonio Carlos also won four of his five duels, including a 3 for 3 night in the air, and completed 92% of his 38 passes.