Could it really be happening? Is it possible that MLS is just a mere hours from resuming play? It certainly is. While the bubble being built around the Swan & Dolphin hotels at the Walt Disney World Resort may have its fair share of headlines, MLS is pushing through. The #MLSISBACK Cup Competition begins tonight from Disney’s Wide World Of Sports Complex. Inter Miami and Orlando City are the headliners for today’s opening act. Unfortunately for Inter Miami’s “Familia”, these matches right up the road in Orlando remain behind closed doors.
If you’ve followed our coverage of Miami soccer throughout the years, you know very well this is where I break down the game. I talk about potential starting line-ups and tactics that you are likely to see throughout the match. I discuss whether our local clubs are at an advantage or disadvantage given each side’s personnel. Today, I will do none of those things. While Miami needs to earn a point in their first match, this game is more than its result.
As you may have already heard from the Miami Herald’s Michelle Kaufman, Miami’s first-overall MLS draft pick Robbie Robinson will not be with the team. Robinson has left the Disney bubble and returned home for personal reasons and cannot return for the remainder of the cup. Additionally, no Miami player has tested positive for COVID-19, despite a surging epidemic in South Florida.
For Orlando City there is no home-field advantage during the tournament. If this were to take place under normal circumstances there is no doubt that Orlando Supporters would pack the venue. The Wall will be noticeably missing despite the match not being played at Exploria Stadium. As of today, there is no indication that Orlando City players or staff have tested positive for COVID-19 either. The epidemic is still surging in Central Florida as we speak.
You didn’t expect me to change the preview to matchday story entirely, did you? The return to play will likely be a rusty performance as both teams look to shake-off four months worth of cobwebs. That said, I think we’ll see each side find the back of the net despite coming up against veteran goalkeepers in Miami’s Luis Robles and Orlando’s Pedro Gallese. It will take a heroic effort to keep the ball out from the back of the net.
Orlando City 2 – 2 Inter Miami