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FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla. (Oct. 5, 2022) - Orlando City SC (13-14-6, 45 points) dropped a 4-1 decision on Wednesday night to Inter Miami CF (14-13-6, 48 points) at DRV PNK Stadium in Ft. Lauderdale. With the loss, the Lions fell to eighth in the Eastern Conference standings, now presented with a win-and-in scenario for Sunday’s Decision Day fixture against Columbus Crew SC.

The defeat snapped a five-game unbeaten run across all competitions against City’s neighbors to the south, dating back to the start of the 2021 campaign, while Designated Player Facundo Torres set the Club’s single-season goal contributions record with his 12th assist of the year to add to his 12 goals to put his total at 24, breaking Nani’s single-season record of 23 set in 2019. 

Torres’ assist came on a goal from Ercan Kara, who tallied his 12th across all competitions after entering the match as a halftime substitute.

Head Coach Oscar Pareja:

“Well, we understand the importance of this game, a rivalry, derby and we know what this kind of game means to the fans. We’re pretty disappointed not to perform the way we should. In that part, I take the responsibility. I felt we couldn’t recover today as well and then, after these couple days, we couldn’t get our energy back. After that, everything just came down. The first minute we concede a goal and our reactions were late but the boys have done a great job through the season, they have the [opportunity] to get into the playoffs at home. It’s on our shoulders, it’s our responsibility, we don’t need to wait on any results. We’ll fight for that. We’re going to fight for this jersey on Sunday at home.”

Scoring Recap:

1’ Leonardo Campana (Robert Taylor) - MIA 1, ORL 0

Inter Miami got on the board just seconds into the match, with Robert Taylor forcing a turnover by the Lions at midfield with the deflection finding a running Leonardo Campana in behind the defense, who was able to chip it over top for the early lead.

38’ Gonzalo Higuaín (Ariel Lassiter, Indiana Vassilev) - MIA 2, ORL 0

The Herons doubled their lead with Indiana Vassilev finding Ariel Lassiter over top on the right wing, who whipped in a cross to Gonzalo Higuaín at the far post for the finish.

52’ Gonzalo Higuaín (Penalty Kick) - MIA 3, ORL 0

Miami netted their third of the night after the officials deemed a handball in the area by Lions defender Ruan. Gonzalo Higuaín then stepped to the spot, sending City goalkeeper Pedro Gallese the wrong way to secure a brace in the match.

56’ Ariel Lassiter (Bryce Duke) - MIA 4, ORL 0

The home side added a fourth with Ariel Lassiter taking his space before firing a long-range shot from outside the area inside the bottom right corner of the net.

71’ Ercan Kara (Facundo Torres) - MIA 4, ORL 1

The Lions cut the deficit with Facundo Torres threading a ball through the Inter Miami defense for Ercan Kara, who was able to slot it into the far post with his first touch.

Match Notes:

  • With the loss, the Lions now must defeat Columbus Crew on Decision Day to clinch their third-consecutive berth in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs. 
  • Facundo Torres broke the Lions’ single-season goal contributions record on the evening, earning the assist on the Kara goal for his 13th helper of the year in all competitions. With 11 goals to add, Torres now sits with 24 goal contributions on the year to pass Nani’s 2019 record of 23. 
  • Ercan Kara netted his 12th goal in all competitions on the year, now with sole possession of the team lead. 
  • After receiving a yellow card, City defender Antonio Carlos will be unavailable on Sunday due to suspension for yellow card accumulation. 
  • Defender Rodrigo Schlegel made his 70th appearance as a Lion in the match while earning his 50th start. 
  • Head Coach Oscar Pareja made three changes to his starting lineup from Sunday’s match, with Kyle Smith, Benji Michel and Tesho Akindele all entering for the side. 

Next Match: The Lions return to downtown Orlando on Sunday afternoon, taking on the Columbus Crew for their 2022 Decision Day fixture in a 2:30 p.m. ET kickoff with the match set to be nationally telecast on FS1 and FOX Deportes.