Saturday was derby day in Florida. Orlando City traveled down south to Fort Lauderdale to face off against hated south Florida rivals, Inter Miami CF. This match was the 4th, and final, meeting between Orlando and Miami in 2020. Bragging rights were up for grabs to decide; Is Florida purple or pink?
Heading into the match, Orlando rode into town with a 12 game unbeaten streak and recently came off a 1-1 draw with NYRB, while Fort Lauderdale CF came off of a 2-1 loss to Montreal. A win and 3 points surely would have helped Orlando's hopes of hosting a playoff game at home, since now they are separated by 2 points from 5th place NYCFC and 3 points from 6th place New England Revolution. Orlando has been in a rough patch of form, with only 1W and 3D headed into this match.
Starters such as Moutinho, Pererya, and Uri were still missing from the 18-man squad.
Miami also allowed fans in the stands for the first time this season, although their supporters section was rather crowded (Way to go on social distancing Inter Miami fans). Inter Miami also allotted 50 tickets for Orlando City supporters, but also rejecting entry to those in Non-Miami gear.
The game started off with Orlando having most of the possession. Chances came and eventually in the 12th minute, rookie Daryl Dike bagged his 5th goal of the season with a nice and swift finish after receiving the ball from a beautiful cross. Although the Lions had the Flamingos in a corner, Miami pressured the ball which eventually led to a panic in Orlando's back line. Miami got the ball after a poor clearance inside the 18, and Miami star player Blaise Matuidi ripped the ball into the box, which led to Orlando defender Robin Jansson absolutely butchering the clearance and kicking the ball into his own goal. An own goal had both Florida teams tied in the 44th minute, right before halftime.
The second half was poor. Miami was the team that had all the possession. Any pressure would send Orlando into a panic. Orlando had a golden opportunity in the 88th minute when a ball in the box was kicked around and landed into Benji Michels feet, only for him to kick the ball straight into the Miami keeper's hands. This proved costly, when in the 89th minute,Miami defender Leandro Gonzales-Pirez, who was hated by Orlando fans when he played for Atlanta United, headed home a cross from a corner kick and gave Miami the late 2-1 lead, which would win them the match.
Orlando gets their 3rd loss of the season, two of which have now come from Miami, the first loss against Miami was all the way back on August 22. Miami also snaps Orlando's record breaking 12 game unbeaten streak. The previous record was 6 games unbeaten, which was at the start of the 2018 season.
The Florida Derby is all tied up:
-Orlando City 2-1 Inter Miami
-Inter Miami 3-2 Orlando City
-Orlando City 2-1 Inter Miami
-Inter Miami 2-1 Orlando City
Orlando needs to get it together if they wish to play their first playoff game in front of a home crowd. Orlando has 4 games left remaining. The Lions record is now
8W-8D-3L for the season and remain in 4th place. They will host Atlanta United this Wednesday.