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Florida’s MLS rivalry is back for the 2021 season!
Sometimes referred to as the “Sunshine Clasico” or the “Clasico del Sol,” Friday’s encounter between Inter Miami and Orlando City will be the first since last October.
Months after the previous 2-1 win for Miami, Orlando now appear to have the advantage.
With just one loss in nine matches so far this season, Orlando have become one of the teams to beat in MLS —- especially after their latest 5-0 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes.
As for Miami, they’ll not only be expected to miss at least a couple of starters this week, but are also in the middle of a three-game losing streak.
Miami will be hosts, but they’ll undoubtedly have issues once again.
|Pick Orlando for the win.|
|Inter Miami vs Orlando City Information|
|Teams||Inter Miami vs Orlando City|
|Location||DRV PNK Stadium (Fort Lauderdale, Florida)|
|Time||Friday, June 25th at 8:00pm ET|
|How to Watch||FS1, Fox Deportes|
Orlando have emerged as one of the most impressive MLS clubs of 2021.
With manager Oscar Pareja at the helm for another season, Orlando have been dominant week in and week out with their organized yet proactive approach.
Even in their lone defeat — a 2-1 loss to the New York Red Bulls last month — Pareja’s men looked competitive and well-balanced in the narrow result.
And earlier on Tuesday, there was no real room for complaints after they demolished San Jose 5-0.
But what about Miami?
One of the league’s newest franchises are faltering with their three losses in a row, and to add insult to injury, they’ll now be expected to miss some key figures against Orlando.
During last week’s 1-0 defeat to DC United, both Ryan Shawcross and Gregore were shown red cards for Miami.
Although manager Phil Neville recently mentioned to the press that either decision could be rescinded before Friday, it seems improbable that either starter will be immediately back on the pitch.
This obviously puts Miami at an even more difficult position.
Not only will they likely be without two of their starters, but it’s also up in the air if marquee names like Gonzalo Higuain or Rodolfo Pizarro will be ready in time for the next match.
At the time of writing earlier in the week, there are no reports indicating that either will be set.
After going through a negative rut, Neville tried to be more conservative in his last game with Miami.
Opting for more of a 4-4-1-1 instead of a three-man backline, Miami were able to hold DC United scoreless through the first half.
Trouble is, Miami continued to have its shaky moments. Although they were able to create some changes, DC United were the ones who controlled possession and the pace of the game.
Things took a turn for the worse in the 2nd half, and after allowing a goal and earning two reds, Miami found themselves with a 1-0 loss against justifiably stronger opposition.
There’s work to be done with Neville’s approach, and the unfortunate news for Miami is that Orlando have been in an even better form than DC United.
There’s still a ways to go before the end of the regular season, but after nine games for Orlando, it has become clear that they can compete with the likes of the Columbus Crew and Seattle Sounders.
Orlando are gaining serious momentum, and believe it or not, they just became even more threatening in the attack with the return of a promising player.
Recently playing in the English second division on loan with Barnsley, striker Daryl Dike gained an immense amount of experience with nine goals in 19 appearances abroad.
And in his first start of 2021 with Orlando, Dike was able to score twice in the latest victory over San Jose.
With the 21-year-old back in the mix, all signs point to another three points for Pareja’s roster.
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Freelance writer Cesar Hernandez is a specialist in all things American and Mexican soccer. He has written for ESPN FC, The Athletic, The Guardian, FourFourTwo, VICE Sports and several other publications. Along with writing and previous radio appearances on the BBC, talkSPORT and SiriusXM FC, Cesar is also a member of the Mexican Soccer Show podcast. Email: [email protected]More info on Cesar Hernandez
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