By Official Florida FC
Inter Miami hosts Orlando City in an intriguing Florida Derby on Wednesday night. Both teams are 13-13-6 and have 45 points through 32 matches.
The contest will be the first time in 24 years that Florida’s two MLS clubs have met this late in the season. In 1998, the Tampa Bay Mutiny beat the Miami Fusion 3-1 in the final game of the regular season. By that time, the first-year Fusion had already wrapped up a berth in the MLS Cup Playoffs.
That is certainly not the case for either current club.
Orlando is sixth in MLS’ Eastern Conference because it has a better goal difference.
The Lions have backslid their way down the Eastern Conference standings since winning the U.S. Open Cup last month. Orlando City has lost three of its last four matches, to find itself needing to win its way into the postseason. Orlando City’s latest setback was Sunday’s 2-1 loss to NYCFC.
Inter Miami, meanwhile, has won three straight matches.
Gonzalo Higuain is proof that form is temporary and class is permanent. The 35-year-old announced Monday that this will be his final professional season. He has scored in three straight matches in the waning minutes to keep the Herons’ season alive.
Orlando City: Beat Inter Miami, need Charlotte FC to beat the Columbus Crew
Inter Miami: Beat Orlando City.
Monday, Inter Miami coach Phil Neville said the Florida Derby has become a proper rivalry. Orlando City has won four of the nine all-time matches between the two and eliminated Inter Miami in this year’s U.S. Open Cup. Wednesday will be an opportunity to see whether that orange has borne fruit.