- The MLS is Back Tournament kicks off at 8:00 pm EST on Wednesday night
- New rivals Orlando and Inter Miami get things started in what will hopefully evolve into a tense Florida rivalry
- Read on for our preview and best bet for the tournament’s first match below
The curtain rises on the MLS is Back Tournament at 8:00 pm EST tonight in Orlando. In what is expected or hoped to be an intense rivalry someday down the road, the “hosts” Orlando City take on in-state foes Inter Miami CF.
The tournament has already seen plenty of headlines before kick-off as the first men’s team sport to attempt to resume play in North America.
One team, FC Dallas has already been sent him with too many positive COVID tests, league MVP Carlos Vela has opted to stay home with his pregnant wife, a handful of Vancouver Whitecaps are also staying behind, a handful of Nashville SC players have tested positive, and a bunch of games have been delayed a few days to deal with positive tests and travel arrangements. Wow.
But otherwise, it’s full steam ahead with now 25 teams playing a World-Cup style tournament until August 11.
Orlando City vs Inter Miami Odds
|Orlando City||0, +0.5 (-125)||+185||O 2.5, 3 (-115)|
|Inter Miami CF||0, -0.5 (EVEN)||+130||U 2.5, 3 (-110)|
Odds taken July 8
A Rivalry is Born
Orlando joined MLS in 2015 and has thus far been a yearly disappointment and in a constant state of turnover. Miami is one of two new expansion sides to join the league this season (Nashville the other) and will be looking to make their mark on the league much faster than Orlando. Inter Miami wants nothing more than to quickly steal the spotlight from Orlando in the state of Florida.
David Beckham’s Inter Miami joined MLS with high expectations, as fans expected big-name signings and early success. The big names didn’t really come in the offseason, but they did make a splash by signing DP attacking midfielder Rodolfo Pizarro from Monterrey right before the season kicked off.
𝑻𝑯𝑬 𝑾𝑨𝑰𝑻 𝑰𝑺 𝑶𝑽𝑬𝑹. 😈 #MLSisBack
— Orlando City SC (@OrlandoCitySC) July 8, 2020
Pizarro scored his first goal, and the teams’, in Miami’s 2-1 loss to DC United in Week 2 earlier this season. Miami had taken the early lead in the game though prior to a red card early in the second half helped DC get back into the match with two goals soon after.
This result came after their debut which saw them hold a decent account of themselves in a 1-0 loss to Supporters’ Shield winners LAFC.
Inter Miami are eager to get their first win and knowing their fans are watching intently is providing some extra motivation.
“There are no fans in the stadium, but we know that our fans are watching us on TV,” said Will Trapp. “We know that they care immensely about this game in particular, and even more so there’s a trophy at stake.”
Robbie Robinson is out. ➡️
Does that mean Julian Carranza is in? ⬅️
— Franco Panizo (@FrancoPanizo) July 6, 2020
The time off has given prized offseason acquisition forward Julian Carranza time to recover from a preseason ankle injury, which could now see him feature in the attack for Miami. Super Draft pick Robbie Robinson had been tasked with that role to start the year and contributed one assist. He has departed the bubble though in Orlando to deal with a non-COVID related situation.
Orlando City vs Inter Miami Stats
|0-1-1||2020 Record (WLD)||0-2-0|
|7||Shots on Target||12|
Orlando Hope to Make Florida Purple With First Rivalry Win
The Lions had another disappointing year last season finishing 11th in the East for a second-straight year. In came new head coach Oscar Pareja, plus a host of new South American players in the offseason.
Orlando’s season started only slightly better than that of Miami’s, with a 0-0 draw against Real Salt Lake and a 2-1 loss to Colorado. Both results, however, were played without the services of star players Nani and Dom Dwyer. Their defeat also came in the 90’ minute off a headed goal from a free-kick. So they were minutes away from starting with two draws.
— Orlando City SC (@OrlandoCitySC) July 5, 2020
With both players back and Orlando hoping to make an impression as tournament hosts, the value has to be on the Lions in this one. Orlando has accomplished very little in the league since their expansion year. But Miami’s team was still being built as the season was about to kick-off and they then were forced into a roughly four-month layoff. If nothing else Orlando should be the more stable of the two.
How either team emerges from the break is anyone’s guess, but Miami as +145 favorites just doesn’t make sense to me. They were +120 earlier this week. A draw is very likely, but Orlando ‘Draw No Bet’ could also offer you the safest play. But at nearly 2-1 odds I’ll take a piece of Orlando as sizeable underdogs. I bet them earlier this week at +200 and that number has since shortened.
Pick: Orlando win (+185)
SBD’s MLS is Back Tournament Group Previews
Let's have fun and keep it civil.