By Official Florida FC
Orlando City held its nerve to advance to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open Cup for the third straight tournament on Wednesday night.
The Lions, hosting for the third straight time in this year’s Open Cup, beat Inter Miami in a Sunshine State derby.
Orlando trailed for the first time during this year’s Cup run, but it trailed for less than three minutes.
Facundo Torres’ 97th minute goal elevated the Lions on equal footing with the visitors. Jean Mota opened the scoring in the 94th with an arrow into the bottom corner. But, as has been the case too often since its founding, Inter Miami conceded a goal at an inopportune time.
Inter Miami goalkeeper Drake Callender made four stellar stops, three in the first half, to ensure the visitors had a chance. Callender, who made his professional debut in May 2021, has played well over the past six weeks – in his seven appearances in goal the six goals he has conceded are 4.2 goals better than the expected goals conceded – to help the Herons salvage their season.
Callender couldn’t help Inter Miami maintain its cup run. Orlando City’s Ercan Kara, Robin Jansson, Andres Perea and Mauricio Pereyra all scored their penalty kicks to eliminate the Herons.
Why Florida’s two MLS teams, and their supporters, have yet to come up with a cheeky name for that rivalry is a mystery. What is not in doubt is Orlando’s dominance in the series. The Lions are 4-2-2 in eight matches against the Herons.
Orlando City is the only team in the country that has played in each of the last three Open Cup quarterfinals. The Lions will host Nashville SC in the Open Cup quarterfinals on June 29.