After defeating Atlanta United FC on Wednesday, Inter Miami traveled upstate to face Orlando City at Exploria Stadium. The team competed hard and created the bulk of the chances, particularly in the second half, finishing with 12 shots to eight by Orlando, but ultimately fell to a narrow 2-1 loss.
"Without a doubt the match can be divided into two separate halves, the first half that I didn't like. We were very timid and that's not us,” said manager Diego Alonso. “We threaten when we attack, when we defend, and when we press, and that was what happened in the second half. We were a completely different team in the second half. I'm very proud of that second half, I feel like the players represented me well. I feel that we're capable of winning our away matches when we play like that. Like when we played in Atlanta and we were the protagonists, and just like today in the second half...When you impose yourself and believe in your plan, and it goes the way it did in the second half, it becomes a lot simpler to play and compete to win the match.”
“After the game the guys were disappointed, but what was disappointing was that we felt we could have got something from this game,” added forward Juan Agudelo. “We thought we were the better team towards the end when we only had two days rest. We had them on the back foot until the last minute.”
The match also marked the first time since March 7 that the team played in front of fans, as Exploria Stadium has been operating at a reduced capacity to allow fans in the stadium while adhering to social distancing guidelines.
“To see how many of our fans made the trip was amazing. It was a good feeling, it was how things used to be so that was awesome,” said Agudelo.
Former Orlando City player Brek Shea came on at halftime and helped make a difference, pushing the team forward and creating scoring opportunities. The versatile left-sided player also scored Inter Miami’s goal with a powerful header.
“At halftime we made a tactical change. Me and Dylan [Nealis] came in as wingbacks, trying to get the ball forward and get crosses in. Obviously, it changed the game,” said Shea. “I was out for quite some time with an injury so I’m just happy to be back staying healthy and trying to do my part to help the team. Obviously, we’re very frustrated with the result today, but there were some positives to take from it.”
Alonso was also pleased with Shea’s performance, citing the notable shift in form in the second half.
“Brek had a really good performance. He’s been doing it in several opportunities and he had a big impact on this game, not only his goal, but because he kept the Orlando defense unbalanced with his play on the left wing,” said Alonso.
While the team didn’t get the result it aimed for, the performance was enough to encourage Shea as he continues Inter Miami’s inaugural season.
“This team is good, we just have to put it all together,” he said. “There’s a lot of very good players on the field and on the bench. I’m happy to be in this group and I think there’s big things to come.”