By The Numbers: #MLSisBack

By The Numbers: #MLSisBack

123 - Days between games

Orlando City last took the pitch against the Colorado Rapids on March 7. Their game the following week against Chicago Fire FC was postponed two days prior to kick, when MLS commenced a league-wide shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. Wednesday night’s kickoff against Miami will happen 123 days after Orlando last kicked a ball in a competitive match. The actual 2019-20 offseason, for reference, lasted 146 days.

276 - Days between games for Nani

The wait has been even longer for Orlando City captain Luis Nani, who was suspended for the first two games of the 2020 season. Nani’s last appearance came on October 6, 2019, meaning he has gone over nine months between games. It is the longest stretch without competitive soccer in Nani’s entire career. The Portuguese legend turned pro for Sporting CP in 2005.

19 - Years between Florida MLS derbies

Orlando and Miami will kickstart a new history on Wednesday night, as the two put on the first Florida vs. Florida MLS match in 19 years. The last MLS Florida derby happened on May 26, 2001, as the Miami Fusion routed the Tampa Bay Mutiny 4-0 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. 

The Mutiny finished with just 14 points in 27 matches and folded after the season. While the Tampa Bay Rowdies continue to play in the USL Championship today, MLS has never returned to Tampa. The Fusion had a much better 2001 season, winning the Supporters’ Shield with 53 points in 26 matches, but they too were forced to fold at season’s end due to financial troubles. Inter Miami marks the return of top flight soccer to South Florida.

3 - Designated Players available

Orlando City picked up a point in their first two matches under Oscar Pareja, doing so extremely short-handed at the start of the year. In addition to Nani missing out, the Lions did not have DP striker Dom Dwyer, who was injured in preseason and was still in recovery during the first two weeks. To make matters that much worse, DP No. 10 Mauricio Pereyra didn’t start against Colorado due to a minor knock, though he did come off the bench late in the game. All three are expected to be available for selection against Inter Miami.