Orlando City head coach Oscar Pareja sensed the pressure on Inter Miami prior to their first game of the restarting 2020 MLS regular season.
The home side went winless in five games to open the 2020 season, but on Saturday night, that losing streak came to an end for the South Florida expansion side.
A two-goal performance from Julian Carranza, with a goal and an assist from Rodolfo Pizarro, lifted Inter Miami past Orlando City 3-2 in Fort Lauderdale.
“Tonight’s game, we go with the sour [taste] knowing we weren’t sharp in our defensive third as a group. A couple crosses where Miami scored the goal hurt us,” Pareja said after the game. “I have to say as well that we respect to our ways, and we scored two goals and we couldn’t tie the game at the end. The initiative we had is what we’re trying to do here, and I have to say that today without getting the result, we’re so proud of the team. We’ll keep growing and I’d say when we win, but this is long, and we would get back on track for sure.”
Carranza opened the scoring for Miami in the 12th minute after receiving the ball down the left side of the field from Pizarro, making the run and striking it past Orlando goalkeeper Pedro Gallese on his near post.
The Lions equalized moments later when Daryl Dike, who made his first professional start, was able to shrug-off Miami’s Leandro Gonzalez Pirez and, after three shot attempts, the rookie struck the ball past keeper Luis Robles in the 18th minute to tie the game 1-1.
Carranza, however, would give Inter the 2-1 lead in the 23rd minute after finishing a lofted header off a ball from Ben Sweat, past Gallese.
Pizarro would make it 3-1 early in the second half after finishing off a bouncing ball inside the box, which he struck toward the bottom-right corner of the net in the 49th minute.
It was the first time this season that Orlando had conceded more than two goals.
Orlando (2-2-2, 8 points) managed to get a second goal when a cross from Chris Mueller found Nani who headed the ball past Robles in the 80th minute. Dike would be credited with a secondary assist on the play, giving him his first professional assist as well.
Despite a sluggish start, Orlando managed to win the possession battle, dominating Miami 64.6% to 35.4% and out-shooting the home side 12-11 (5-4 on target). Despite that, they were unable to truly break down the home side’s defensive shape through most of the match.
Up next, Orlando City hosts Nashville SC on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in front of a limited capacity crowd at Exploria Stadium.
12′ – Julian Carranza, assisted by Rodolfo Pizarro (MIA)
18′ – Daryl Dike (ORL)
23′ – Julian Carranza, assisted by Ben Sweat, Victor Ulloa (MIA)
49′ – Rodolfo Pizarro (MIA)
80′ – Nani, assisted by Chris Mueller, Daryl Dike (ORL)
Here’s how the Lions lined up
Orlando City XI: Pedro Gallese, João Moutinho, Antonio Carlos, Robin Jansson, Ruan (Benji Michel, 81′); Sebastian Mendez (Andres Perea, 81′), Oriol Rosell (Tesho Akindele, 68′), Junior Urso (Chris Mueller, 46′), Nani (c), Mauricio Pereyra (Robinho, 90′), Daryl Dike.
Bench: Brian Rowe, Rodrigo Schlegel, Kyle Smith, Kamal Miller.
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