Florida clubs on fire heading into this week’s U.S. Open Cup matches

By Official Florida FC

Florida’s two Major League Soccer teams are rolling, heading into their first midweek matches of the season.

Orlando City recorded its second straight clean sheet, and fifth in seven games when it beat Columbus 2-0 on Saturday night. The Lions (4-2-2, 14 points) are undefeated away from Exploria Stadium this season with a 2-0-2 mark.

Columbus may be scuffling, but a win against the resurgent Los Angeles Galaxy, plus a result against Portland show this year’s Lions have the ability to conjure results away from Central Florida.

“Big result, but more important a big performance,” Orlando City head coach Oscar Pareja  told the team’s website afterward. “I have a lot of respect for this group. The players understand that this is a commitment that we all have to each other. It’s a commitment that we have for a common objective and sometimes it may be difficult, but if we all have that heart and discipline, I think we’re going to get many good results like tonight. We played against a very good team in a very difficult place and gave a fantastic performance where we also saw how they’re collectively growing which made me even more content.”

Orlando City, with the exception of its disastrous 2017 season, has  always been able to earn points at home. What Pareja has brought is the ability to earn points on the road. When those road points come against Eastern Conference opponents, they have a tendency to matter much later in the season.

The  next test of the Lions’ road mettle will not come until May when Orlando City travels to Canada to play Montreal and Toronto in consecutive weeks. If the logistics of the trip are not challenging enough, Toronto has won 13 of the last 15 points possible and handed Philadelphia its first loss on April 16.

Inter Miami stuns Seattle, wins second straight

Inter Miami (2-4-1, 7 points) has conceded silly goals since it arrived in MLS in 2020.

Either through concentration lapses, unacceptable giveaways or untimely concessions, the Herons have sieved goals – and thus cost themselves points. Inter Miami snapped a five-match winless streak against Seattle on Saturday night with its 1-0 win.

While, it’s true that Seattle had a lot of changes in its starting XI because of its exertions in the CONCACAF Champions League, the Sounders had enough quality – either in its lineup, or coming off the bench – to produce a result. As impressive as the win may have been, what may serve the Herons well is the reduction of chances they conceded.

Seattle had 1.1 expected goals in its loss.

That is tied for Inter Miami’s second fewest xG conceded by the Herons this season alongside its scoreless draw against Chicago to kick off the season. (The fewest xG conceded was 0.5  in a 2-0 loss to LAFC on March 12; however,  the Herons finished that match with 10 players following a Brek Shea red card in the 45th minute.)

As trite as it sounds, if Inter Miami can stop allowing needless goals, the Herons have every opportunity to play their way into contention in MLS’ tight Eastern Conference standings. Inter Miami is 13th in the Eastern Conference. However, the Herons are only four points behind fourth-place Atlanta United, who travels to South Florida on Sunday afternoon.

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