Orlando City welcomed Inter Miami for an Open Cup edition of Tropic Thunder in Exploria Stadium. With the match tied 1-1 at the end of extra time, The Lions advanced 4-2 on penalty kicks and will host Nashville SC in the next round. Here are our five takeaways from the match.
Possession without Purpose
Orlando City did not have much trouble moving the ball in, around, and through Miami’s lines. The Lions were able to create some early chances including seven corner kicks and a free kick. Orlando City took 13 shots with three shots on goal to Miami’s five shots with only one on goal in the opening half. The Lions also held 68% possession in the first half of the match, but were unable to score. It was the polar opposite of the match in Austin, but Orlando City was wasteful in its scoring opportunities.
Of course, Inter Miami’s keeper, Drake Callender was a big part of the reason for Orlando City’s difficulties on the night. While he wasn’t everywhere, he was in enough places to make key saves against Orlando City. Callender single-handedly kept Miami in the match.
Despite only having one shot on goal, the few times that Miami pushed into Orlando City territory, the Herons seemed to be in a good position to score. Fortunately, Miami’s players either pushed it wide, an Orlando City defender recovered, or Mason Stajduhar collected the ball. It still felt like Orlando City’s lack of finishing would create the confidence needed for Miami to score a goal. It took until extra time, but Miami did end up hurting the Lions when Jean Mota gave the visitors the lead.
No Referee Drama
With the referee shenanigans in Austin still fresh on the minds of the players, coaches, and supporters of Orlando City, one could be forgiven for being apprehensive heading into this match. I know that Joe Dickerson was the referee in the last match. Without looking it up, I had no idea who the referee for this match was. Usually I don’t notice when the referee does his job. That is how it is supposed to be. The fact that I didn’t notice is the reason this is a takeaway. Orlando City committed 20 fouls and earned four yellow cards. Inter Miami committed 26 fouls and also earned four yellow cards. That seems to be a good representation of how the match played out, given it went the full 90 minutes plus 30 minutes of extra time.
Torres Makes Good
During The Mane Land PawedCast, Michael Citro and I discussed how we wanted to see Facundo Torres play with more confidence. Recently, Torres has been passing off the ball to his teammates when he should be taking the shots himself. Being a team player is all well and good, but when you are a Young Designated Player, you need to be taking the chances that are presented. Torres did just that in extra time, cutting his way across the top of the box, and nutmegging a Miami defender to equalize for Orlando City. More of this, please.
Penalty Kick Heaven
Orlando City’s opportunity to advance in the Open Cup once again came down to penalty kicks. This time there were no keeper yellow cards, and no need for Rodrigo Schlegel to don the gloves and save the day. Stajduhar started things off the right way with a save. DeAndre Yedlin’s green hair didn’t help him as he made a field goal kick, and the Beefy Swede buried his kick. It came down to Mauricio Pereyra to send the Lions through, and the captain buried it before celebrating with his teammates and the Wall.
That is what I took away from the first Tropic Thunder edition of the Open Cup. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.