2020 Major League Soccer, Regular Season
  • Christopher Mueller (70')
  • Nani (90'+7')
  • Juan Agudelo (47')

Orlando City beats Inter Miami in MLS is Back Tournament opener

Nani puts Orlando ahead deep into stoppage time (1:01)

Major League Soccer: Nani (90'+7) Orlando City 2-1 Inter Miami. Watch MLS on ESPN+. (1:01)

Nani scored in the seventh minute of stoppage time as Orlando City SC rallied for a 2-1 victory over Inter Miami CF in the first game of the MLS is Back Tournament on Wednesday night near Orlando.

In the league's first contest in 122 days, Nani took a loose ball in the box, positioned himself and broke a late tie with a strike past Miami goalkeeper Luis Robles to give Orlando City its first win for new head coach Oscar Pareja.

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Miami opened the scoring when Juan Agudelo nailed a brilliant cross in the 47th minute for the first goal of the league's restart from the coronavirus pandemic interruption. Orlando City's Chris Mueller leveled the match off a Nani cross in the 70th minute, that was deflected by Robles.

Played amid the confines of a "bubble" at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, there were no fans in attendance for the Group A match. The MLS is Back Tournament features all but one of the league's 26 teams organized in six groups in a World Cup-style competition.

Agudelo got the first quality chance in the ninth minute when he broke free near the far post, but his chip went high and wide. Meanwhile, Mueller delivered the first major opportunity for Orlando in the 22nd minute, but Robles made a diving stop.

In a moment of concern, Miami's Andres Reyes' was stretched off the pitch after a collision with Orlando's Dom Dwyer in the 51st minute. Reyes reportedly was having trouble breathing following the contact. Miami captain Robles slammed the referee after the match for not controlling the game better, which he felt helped contribute to Reyes' injury.

"What's frustrating about tonight's match is that I felt it was avoidable," Robles said in the post-match news conference.

"I've played against Dom [Dwyer] for years and he's a very talented forward and I understand his game and have a lot of respect for his game -- he's scored many a goal on me.

"But I also know that he's a very physical forward and if the referee is going to give them the type of margin, the type of rope to play that way ... you could see in the first half there were several moments where the fouls wherever, very hard coming in from behind, yet [the referee] continued to say that they were soft fouls, continued to say they weren't strong and weren't necessarily even a foul, yet everyone on the field could see it.

"So therefore to go the way it did in the second half, it had a massive impact, a massive impact on the rest of the game because our defensive unit is already thin as it is and for us to lose a guy like Andres, who is in the middle of the park, having a great game, it completely changed the complexion of the game.

"I don't even blame Dom. That's just the way he plays and like I said, I respect the way he plays, this is why he's been so successful.

"The worst thing is that the ref tells me that it's our own guy [who injured Reyes]. I'm just completely confused at what he's watching because when he watched the play, he it's just him and Andres and so I'm just going to point to that play because in the end it completely changed the match, which leaves us a bit sour ... now we have to regroup.

"I don't even put it on Dom, I put it on the ref."

Prior to the start of the match, more than a 100 black MLS players stood on the pitch in silence for several minutes, raising their fists while the starters from both teams knelt. The protest was designed to raise awareness for social injustice, and featured members of the league's Black Players for Change, according to the official MLS website.

Players wore black shirts, drawing attention to social and racial injustice concerns in the wake of the recent death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis. Players also sported face masks with the words "BLACK LIVES MATTER" and "MLS is BLACK."