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Our Pick: Orlando City to win
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Orlando City are the heavy favorites as they welcome Inter Miami CF on Sunday evening. The match will take place at Orlando City’s home ground, the Exploria Stadium, where they are unbeaten in the last 10 games.
A resurgent Inter Miami’s unbeaten streak was snapped two weeks ago by a strong display from Atlanta United. However, they managed to shrug off the defeat to secure a 4-0 win over Toronto FC at home.
Orlando City suffered a shock loss to New York City FC in the last outing. However, the team is in great form this MLS season, sitting in second position in the Eastern Conference table, only behind FC Cincinnati.
There has been a mixed bag of results between the two teams in previous meetings. Orlando City lead the head-to-head against Inter Miami by six wins to four, while two of their 12 meetings have ended in draws.
In their most recent five encounters, Orlando City edge the head-to-head by three wins against Miami’s two. The match on Sunday promises to entertain and the odds of a result in favor of either team are high, as there have been no draws between them in the last five meetings.
Orlando City should not expect a cakewalk heading into this tie despite a dominant head-to-head record. They have suffered a hiccup against New York City FC, where they failed to get on the scoresheet. Despite being the favorites, Miami have been a resurgent side since the MLS break in the summer for the 2023 Leagues Cup and could potentially pose a threat to Orlando City.
Orlando City are placed second in the Eastern Conference table, with 50 points from 29 games. They have won 14, drawn eight and lost seven games so far in the MLS.
As the league stage nears its end, Orlando City are already into the playoffs of the MLS Cup. In their last five games, the home side have lost just one match, and drawn one, winning three of five. They even managed to travel to Cincinnati and beat the table toppers 1-0 away from home.
Oscar Pareja’s side could be potential title contenders for the first time. Their best result in the MLS playoffs so far has been in 2020, when they made it to the quarterfinals, where they were beaten by the New England Revolution. Pareja’s men did lift the US Open Cup in 2022 by beating Sacramento Republic in the final.
Though the Inter Miami side visiting Orlando on Sunday is much improved from the one before the MLS summer break, the home side have an impeccable record at home this season. Pareja’s men are unbeaten in their last 10 games at home in the 2023 MLS season.
Orland have won all of their home games since their 2-2 draw against Philadelphia on June 22. This means they are on a five-game winning streak at their home ground. They are also enjoying amazing form away from home, as they are ranked No. 1 in away matches in the Eastern Conference table so far.
Orlando City came up short against New York City FC last weekend as they were downed 0-2 by the home side. Despite the loss, Orlando secured a playoff berth on the same evening, as DC United drew with Atlanta United.
As a result, the Lions cemented their spot in the Audi 2023 MLS Playoffs. This is the fourth consecutive year that Orlando have clinched a playoff spot in the MLS. All of their qualifications have come under the guidance of coach Pareja. Orlando will be gunning for their maiden MLS title and three points against Miami will give a big boost to their morale.
Inter Miami CF has lost only one game since July 22nd. They were on a 12-match unbeaten run since before their title-winning run at the Leagues Cup, which saw them win 11 of those 12 games with just one draw and the Leagues Cup title.
However, their run was beaten when they traveled to Atlanta, as the team went down 5-2 to the home side. The defeat was followed by a quick recovery by Miami as they returned home to thrash Toronto FC 4-0 in the following game. Their spirits will be buoyed by the win as they travel to face Orlando and Gerardo Martino’s men will look for a result from the game.
Inter Miami secured an emphatic win over Toronto FC despite a loss against Atlanta. Facundo Farías, Robert Taylor, and Benjamin Cremaschi all got onto the scoresheet to help their side earn a comfortable win.
Goalscoring has not been an issue for Martino’s side as they also managed to net twice in their loss against Atlanta. Leonardo Campana bagged his second brace against Atlanta, after netting twice against LAFC in the match before. He also has the most shots on target this season for his club with 1.5 per match. Miami have now scored 12 times in their last five games, an impressive run as compared to how they started the season.
Martino’s side are currently placed 13th in the Eastern Conference table, with 31 points from 28 games. Before the MLS summer break, the side were firmly sitting at the bottom of the table and couldn’t dream of making the playoffs this year.
However, since the MLS resumed, they have played six games and won four of them, drawing one against Nashville and losing one against Atlanta. They have managed to beat teams like Los Angeles FC, New York Red Bulls, Sporting KC, and Toronto in their resurgence. The playoff position is only four places and five points away for Miami. DC United, who sit in 9th, are suffering poor form and have played two games more than Miami.
Tenth-placed New York City FC have also played 30 games and are three points ahead, whereas 11th place Chicago Fire FC have played 29 games and are just two points ahead. Therefore a last-minute qualification for Inter Miami is still possible.
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With an interest in strategy and mathematics, applying that to sports writing was the natural progression. A writer at night and the founder of a gaming company, Nikhil’s previous experience includes working with ESPN for five years. His specialization includes soccer, basketball, tennis, and esports betting. Email: [email protected]More info on Nikhil Kalro
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