Herons seek first MLS victory in MLS is Back Tournament in Orlando
A derby against a rival who is finding their footing may be an ideal setting for Inter Miami to produce its first MLS win.
Inter Miami will kickoff the MLS is Back Tournament on July 8 against fellow Sunshine State foe Orlando City. The match, as well as the 53 others in the MLS is Back Tournament, will be held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Reunion, Florida because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Inter Miami CF
MLS is Back schedule
|Orlando City||July 8||8 p.m.|
|Chicago Fire||July 14||9 a.m.|
|Philadelphia Union||July 19||10:30 p.m.|
To date, only one Inter Miami player has tested positive for COVID-19. The Miami Herald reported that positive test occurred in mid-June.
As for the league as a whole, Major League Soccer announced there have been 14 positive tests among the MLS is Back Tournament delegation since clubs began arriving in Central Florida on June 28.
On the pitch, no MLS team has played a competitive league match since March 8.
“Yea there’s no fans in the stadium, but we know that our fans are watching us on TV. We know that they care immensely about this game,” Inter Miami midfielder Wil Trapp told the club’s website. “And even more so there’s a trophy at stake. As players and as a team you have to dredge up whatever motivation you can to focus on that always and I think we’ve done a really good job of that. I think our staff is really amazing at reminding us of why we’re here and what our objectives are.”
The Herons did not win either of their first two matches of the 2020 MLS season. Then again, few teams have had any regular season success at Banc of California Stadium and Inter Miami played the last 35 minutes on the road against D.C. United.
Inter Miami’s roster is filled with well-known and well-traversed players in MLS and across CONCACAF.
The spine, appears to be strong with former MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Luis Robles between the pipes, Panamanian international Roman Torres in central defense, Trapp in central midfield and Mexican international Rodolfo Pizarro as a creative cog in midfield. The question is who will put the ball in the back of the net.
Robbie Robinson, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 MLS SuperDraft, started both matches before the COVID-19 pandemic, but didn’t register a shot on goal in 134 minutes.
If Inter Miami can put the ball in the back of the net, either with Robinson, 20-year-old Julian Carranza or journeyman forward Jerome Kiesewetter, the Herons stand a good chance as any to advance out of Group A.
Adding to the team’s depth is the acquisition of former U.S. international Brek Shea. The 30-year-old Texan made 19 appearances for Atlanta United last year before tearing knee ligaments against Seattle last July. Shea may not be an upgrade over incumbent left fullback, and Floridian, Ben Sweat or 20-year-old Designated Player Matias Pellegrini, but he does provide an option for manager Diego Alonso.
None of the three teams Inter Miami will face in the group stage won a match before the 2020 season was suspended on March 12.
- Orlando City, a team that struggled to score goals in 2019, produced one goal in its first 180 minutes of 2020.
- The Chicago Fire have been completely overhauled to the point where few know what to expect. Though, the new-look Fire were unfortunate to lose their opener against Seattle back in March.
- Then there is Philadelphia. The Union, captianed by Floridian Alejandro Bedoya, withered in the final half hour against Dallas and twice gave up the lead against LAFC. Three of the five goals the Union have conceded in 2020 have come after the 60th minute.