ORLANDO, Fla. (July 8, 2020) - Orlando City SC (1-1-1, 4 points / 1-0-0, 3 points) opened the MLS is Back Tournament with a 2-1 victory in its inaugural match against intrastate foes Inter Miami CF (0-3-0 / 0-1-0, 0 points) at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla.
The match served as the long-awaited return to play for Major League Soccer since its 25th Anniversary season was suspended on March 12 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the Lions’ first fixture in over four months.
Orlando City Head Coach Oscar Pareja secured his first victory at the helm for the Lions with the result, while City captain Luis Nani earned both his first goal and assist of the year in the contest. Lions’ forward Chris Mueller accounted for the other finish, his second in 2020.
The Lions now sit atop Group A heading into their second match of the tournament, slated for Tuesday, July 14 against 2015 expansion rivals New York City FC.
Head Coach Oscar Pareja:
“First of all, I want to tell everybody how proud we are of the players, the effort and the job that they have done through this last period. They are a tremendous group and tonight they showed that they are very strong inside. Both teams were very generous with the effort and we saw a lot of soccer there. We are proud with the victory, the first ever in the history of the clubs and we are proud. Congratulations to the players and to our fans.”
47’ Juan Agudelo (Victor Ulloa, Matías Pellegrini) - MCF 1, ORL 0
Inter Miami opened the scoring just after halftime, with Matías Pellegrini finding Victor Ulloa along the right side of the box. Ulloa then played it across the face of goal for Juan Agudelo, who hit it first time into the back of the net.
70’ Chris Mueller (Nani) - ORL 1, MCF 1
The Lions leveled off the foot of Chris Mueller after Mauricio Pereyra found Nani down the left flank, who laid a ball through the box that connected with a sliding Mueller at the far post for the finish.
90+7’ Nani - ORL 2, MCF 1
City took the lead late with the captain scoring the game-winner deep in stoppage time after a cross from João Moutinho was deflected in the box, falling to the feet of Nani who slotted it into the lower right corner of the net.
Head Coach Oscar Pareja earned his first victory for Orlando City with the win.
The Lions’ captain, Luis Nani, scored his first goal of 2020 and his fifth game-winner since joining the Club ahead of the 2019 season.
Forward Chris Mueller scored his second goal of the 2020 campaign, his 10th in MLS play.
Nani registered his first assist of the year on Mueller’s 70th-minute finish.
Nani joined midfielder Uri Rosell and forward Dom Dwyer in making their first appearances of 2020.
The inaugural matchup between these two clubs marked Major League Soccer’s return to play since the season was suspended on March 12, kicking back off in the Soccer Capital of MLS at ESPN Wide World of Sports in Orlando.
The Lions returned to Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports for the first time since 2014, where they finished their USL tenure on Sept. 13 in a match against the Harrisburg City Islanders. City finished its time in USL by winning the Commissioner’s Cup for the best record in the 2014 season.
Matches in the MLS is Back Tournament count toward the team’s regular season standing, with the winner of the tournament earning a spot in the 2021 Concacaf Champions League
Orlando City has been placed atop Group A, which also includes New York City FC, Inter Miami CF, Philadelphia Union, Chicago Fire and Nashville SC
Next Match: The Lions will take on the Pigeons of New York City FC on Tuesday, July 14 at 10:30 p.m. ET for their second match of the MLS is Back Tournament.
MCF - Juan Agudelo (Victor Ulloa, Matías Pellegrini) 47’
ORL - Chris Mueller (Nani) 70’
ORL - Nani 90+7’
ORL - João Moutinho (Yellow Card) 38’
MCF - Ben Sweat (Yellow Card) 40’
MCF - Julián Carranza (Yellow Card) 84’
ORL - Sebastián Méndez (Yellow Card) 87’
ORL - Uri Rosell (Yellow Card) 90+10’
Orlando City SC - GK Pedro Gallese; D João Moutinho, Robin Jansson, Antonio Carlos, Ruan; M Mauricio Pereyra (Andrés Perea 83’), Uri Rosell, Júnior Urso (Sebastián Méndez 63’), Chris Mueller (Benji Michel 83’); F Nani © (Rodrigo Schlegel 90+7’), Dom Dwyer (Tesho Akindele 63’)
Substitutes Not Used: GK Brian Rowe; D Alex De John, Kyle Smith; M David Loera, Robinho; F Daryl Dike, Santiago Patiño
Inter Miami CF - GK Luis Robles ©; D Andrés Reyes (Rodolfo Pizarro 58’), Nicolás Figal, Dylan Nealis, Ben Sweat, Mikey Ambrose; M Wil Trapp (Jay Chapman 79’), Lewis Morgan (Luis Argudo 78’), Matías Pellegrini (Lee Nguyen 78’), Victor Ulloa; F Juan Agudelo (Julián Carranza 73’)
Substitutes Not Used: GK John McCarthy, Drake Callender; D Alvas Powell, A.J. DeLaGarza, Grant Lillard, Brek Shea; F Jerome Kiesewetter
Details of the Game:
Time: 8 p.m. ET
Date: July 8, 2020
ORL - 58%
MCF - 42%
ORL - 10
MCF - 8
ORL - 0
MCF - 1
ORL - 17
MCF - 12
ORL - 3
MCF - 2
Heineken Star of the Match: Chris Mueller