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Inter Miami CF Defeats Orlando City SC 2-1 in Front of Limited Number of Season Ticket Members

October 24, 2020 - Major League Soccer (MLS) - Inter Miami CF News Release

Inter Miami CF earned a pivotal 2-1 victory over Orlando City SC in front of a limited number of Season Ticket Members, filling the available allotment of tickets in the reduced capacity Inter Miami CF Stadium for the first time this season. A late goal by Leandro González Pirez gave the hosts three points in a tight match.

"Logically, winning today was hugely important. Before the match I said that for us it was like a final. I think that the players played like it was one today and that's how we won," said manager Diego Alonso. "The match was important, the three points were important and we did really good work today."

Inter Miami lined up to start the match with Designated Player Rodolfo Pizarro back in the XI after returning from international duty and with González Pirez donning the captain's armband in the absence of Luis Robles and Gonzalo Higuaín.

Orlando opened the scoring in the 12th minute, when Antônio Carlos played a long ball over the top to Daryl Dike, who controlled the ball and struck a shot into the back of the net to make it 0-1.

After Orlando's goal, Pizarro began to assert his influence on the proceedings. In the 16th minute, he had a shot deflected just wide of the post. Next, in the 33rd minute, he made a driving run, cutting in from the right wing and played a ball into Matías Pellegrini, whose right-footed shot drew a diving save from Orlando goalkeeper Pedro Gallese. In the 39th minute, Pizarro cut in from the left wing and played a ball to Julián Carranza at the top of the box, who cleverly turned the ball into the path of a streaking Ben Sweat. The left back collected the ball and struck a right footed attempt on goal, but another diving save from Gallese kept the match at 0-1.

After a series of threatening set pieces by Inter Miami, the hosts found their equalizing goal in the 45th minute. The breakthrough came when Pizarro deftly controlled a ball in the box, flicked it over his shoulder and struck towards goal but his shot was blocked and found Blaise Matuidi. The French World Cup winner then struck a powerful shot back across goal that was deflected into the net by Orlando defender Robin Jansson, making it 1-1 heading into halftime. At the break, Inter Miami held a 13 to four advantage over Orlando in shots taken.

The hosts almost found a breakthrough goal in the 53rd minute; Lewis Morgan made a driving run down the right wing and sent in a pinpoint cross to the head of Carranza, who struck a powerful header off the underside of the bar, but the ball bounced out, keeping the game level.

A tense second half saw the match teeter in the balance throughout, as both sides looked to find a breakthrough goal. The biggest moments of the match came in the final minutes, including an outstanding save by John McCarthy in the 88th minute; the keeper cleared a ball away once before a follow-up was struck at him with power, but McCarthy, still on the ground, made a reaction save with his legs to keep the ball out of the net and keep the match alive.

Moments later, Inter Miami found its winning goal; Morgan stepped up to take a corner kick and delivered a pinpoint cross that González Pirez attacked in the air and headed into the back of the net, giving the hosts a crucial 2-1 victory. The goal was González Pirez's first of the season and the assist was Morgan's seventh, the most on the team.

Inter Miami will travel to face FC Dallas for the first time this season on Wednesday, Oct. 28, at 8:30 p.m. ET.

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