MLS: Orlando City aim to slow first-place Inter Miami

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Inter Miami will put a five-match winning streak on the line when they visit in-state rival Orlando City on Wednesday night.

Miami is also unbeaten since March 23, as it drew two matches before the five consecutive wins. The Herons (8-2-3, 27 points) kept those streaks intact when they rallied to a 3-2 road win over CF Montreal on Saturday.

For a change, it wasn’t Lionel Messi who provided the scoring. Matias Rojas and Luis Suarez scored just before halftime to turn a 2-0 deficit into a tie game, and Benjamin Cremaschi came through with the game-winner in the 59th minute in his first start of the season.

The 19-year-old midfielder from the Miami area now has two goals in his past three matches after missing much of the start of the season due to injury.

“Benja generated a lot in the minutes he played,” coach Tata Martino said after Saturday’s match. “It had been a long time since he started a game. He played 70 minutes and we are very satisfied with his performance, and with his game-deciding goal.”

Though Messi helped spark the counterattack that set up Cremaschi’s goal, he went without a goal or an assist for the first time this season.

Messi has 10 goals and a league-high 12 assists, including an MLS-record six goal contributions (one goal, five assists) in a 6-2 win over the New York Red Bulls on May 4.

Orlando City (3-5-3, 12 points) own a 5-4 edge in the all-time series against Miami (in MLS play), with three ties. But the Lions have played second fiddle in Florida since Messi arrived last summer, and Orlando will want payback after a 5-0 drubbing at Miami in March. Messi and Suarez each scored twice in that encounter.

The good news for Orlando is that its three-match winless streak is over after a 3-2 victory over the Philadelphia Union on Saturday. The Union led 1-0 before Duncan McGuire scored the equalizer and Luis Muriel added goals on either side of the halftime break, in the 42nd and 46th minutes.

Those were Muriel’s first two goals in MLS after the 33-year-old signed from Italy’s Atalanta in February.

“We had a start to the season where we haven’t been getting the results that we wanted,” Muriel said.

“Some bad luck, some bad situations, but even after those tough matches, this group just continues to go in and be incredibly hard (working). Go into the week and just work, and constantly work and keep pushing ourselves forward.”

–Field Level Media

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