By Official Florida FC
NYCFC 2, Inter Miami 0
Valentin Castellanos’ first half brace was enough to see the Pigeons past visiting Inter Miami on Saturday night at Red Bull Arena. Inter Miami entered the match on a four-game unbeaten streak that include a trio of results against teams over the red line in the Eastern Conference.
That ended on Saturday when the Herons twice lost concentration and conceded goals because of it. New York City’s Maxi Morales is having a best XI type of impact this year and showed why on Saturday with a delightful cross that Castellanos couldn’t help but to finish in the 21st minute.
Gonzalo Higuain had a chance to equalize in the 23rd minute, but his chip hit the crossbar.
That wouldn’t come close to being the miss of the night. Castellanos, whose circumspect finishing was spotlighted by MLSSoccer.com columnist Matt Doyle earlier this summer, missed a sitter in the 32nd minute. Castellanos was one-on-one with Inter Miami keeper Nick Marsman.
Inter Miami (4-9-4, 16 points) is 12th in the Eastern Conference. The Herons are 10 points behind Montreal for the final playoff berth in the conference. New York’s win allows the Pigeons (9-5-4, 31 points) to remain undefeated in their last six. NYCFC jumped over Orlando City (8-4-6, 30 points) into second in the Eastern Conference.
Orlando Pride 1, Portland Thorns 1
Orlando remains undefeated under interim head coach Becky Burleigh. The way the Pride kept that streak alive will likely annoy them.
Orlando led the league leaders for an hour but could not make it to the finish line on Saturday night at Orlando’s Exploria Stadium. Goalie, and former Satellite Beach resident, Ashlyn Harris was once again called on to make a number of reaction saves while the hosts led 1-0.
Jodie Taylor’s 13th minute header opened the scoring for the Pride. The former England international scored for the second straight match.
Orlando had a chance to double its advantage in the 44th minute when it had a two-on-two in transition. Taylor forced a pass to NWSL leading scorer Sydney Leroux and the American international’s shot was a tame one.
Portland’s Simone Charley headed home her third goal of the season in the 78th minute. Orlando committed nine fouls in the second half and Charley’s goal was on a set piece. Pride fullback Phoebe McClernon committed three second half fouls, and one of them proved costly for the Pride.
Orlando (5-4-6, 21 points) moves up to third. However, there are five teams – Gotham FC, Chicago, Washington, OL Reign and Houston – who are within three points of the Pride and have multiple games in hand. Meanwhile, Portland (9-3-2, 29 points) expanded its lead atop the table to eight points.