Inter Miami with first franchise win in home opener

Inter Miami CF earned the first victory in Club history with a 3-2 win over Orlando City SC in its first match at Inter Miami CF Stadium. The matchup kicked off at 8 p.m. ET and launched the next phase of the Club’s historic inaugural season with three points.

“I’m very happy, the truth is the players deserved it. I think the staff, the owners, and above all the fans deserved a victory that we could dedicate to them,” said manager Diego Alonso. “I think that we’ve suffered too much in this time as we’ve deserved a lot more from our previous matches, and we hadn’t been able to get that win. We had to wait but I think we finally got it in the best way, playing in our home, winning in our debut here and making ourselves strong here.”

It was Inter Miami who struck first on their home field when Julián Carranza, the team’s 20-year-old Argentine forward, scored his first goal for the Club in the 12th minute. Designated Player Rodolfo Pizarro initiated the attack with a driving run past defenders before threading a pass into the left side of the box. Carranza collected the ball from there and continued his run past his defender and struck a low, left-footed shot inside the near post and past the keeper, marking the first MLS goal scored at Inter Miami CF Stadium.

The visitors struck back and equalized seven minutes later through a strike from forward Daryl Dike. 

Inter Miami, however, quickly responded and regained the lead in the 23rd minute. Ben Sweat found himself in space down the left wing and delivered a precise cross to the head of Carranza at the back post, who softly hit a looping header over the keeper and into the back of the net for his second goal of the night, giving the hosts a 2-1 lead they would maintain heading into halftime.

Inter Miami once again struck first in the second half, getting off to a quick start with a 48th minute goal. Scottish winger Lewis Morgan collected possession on the right after swift combination play, delivering a cross into the box that met the head of Victor Ulloa. The midfielder tapped the ball back to the center of the box where Pizarro was waiting for it, deftly curling a first-time shot into the bottom right corner of the net for a 3-1 lead.

A pair of perfectly-timed tackles by Inter Miami defenders in the 57th and 61st minutes helped maintain the home team’s lead. First, Nico Figal rapidly tracked back and won possession with a sliding tackle on the last man in attack. Next, Andrés Reyes tracked Dike in the box, picking the ball off of him with another well-timed sliding tackle.

Inter Miami made a triple substitution in the 77th minute, bringing on Brek Shea, Dylan Nealis and Mikey Ambrose for Matías Pellegrini, Reyes and Morgan respectively. 

In the 80th minute Orlando City scored a second goal, making it 3-2 with ten minutes to play. Chris Mueller struck a cross into the head of Nani at the back post, whose header found the back of the net. 

Inter Miami made its final change of the night in the second minute of second-half added time, bringing on forward Jerome Kiesewetter for Carranza. From there, the team saw out the remainder of the match, earning a 3-2 win and the first points in Club history. The team celebrated on the field as fireworks went off, marking the historic occasion.

The match kicked off with a new face in defense for Inter Miami as center back Leandro González Pirez appeared in the starting XI, making his debut for the Club. There was another Inter Miami debut before the match was over as Brek Shea came on in the 77th minute to make his first appearance for the team.