Former Manchester United star Nani scores a late winner as MLS returns with Orlando’s victory over Inter Miami … while stars from across the league take part in a five-minute protest in support of Black Lives Matter before kickoff
- Wednesday evening saw the major team sports for men in the United States return
- The MLS’s Back tournament started with Orlando City beating Inter Miami 2-1
- It followed a five-minute demonstration in support of Black Lives Matter
Nani scored deep in stoppage time to give Orlando City a 2-1 win over Florida rivals Inter Miami, while Major League Soccer returned after a four-month hiatus from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The former Manchester United winger scored closely and gave Orlando the three points in the group stage of the ‘MLS is Back’ tournament.
Expansion team Miami, co-owned by former English captain David Beckham, continued through Juan Agudelo early in the second half, but the game changed when their defender Andres Reyes shot an elbow in the face and was taken off on a stretcher.
Nani scored deep in stoppage time to give Orlando City a 2-1 win over Inter Miami
The former Manchester United man struck in the 97th minute of the game for a 2-1 victory
Nani advanced to Christopher Mueller for the equalizing goal in the 70th minute before the Portuguese delivered a late winner in the 97th minute.
The game was the first major U.S. men’s team sports game since the pandemic and is best remembered by the players’ protest against racial injustice.
Players raised their gloved right fists and took a knee in solidarity with the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement ahead of Wednesday’s start of the match.
Juan Agudelo (right) of Inter Miami had previously led his side for the turnaround
Stars from teams across the league – not just the two competing on Wednesday – took to the field wearing black gloves, face masks, and t-shirts associated with the movement for their silent demonstration.
They stood around the field as the two teams participating in the game knelt in the center circle, protesting for more than five minutes.
The tournament, held without fans in a biosafe ‘bubble’ at the Disney Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando, has had a stuttering start.
The match itself followed an incredible show of support for the Black Lives Matter movement
Players from Orlando City and Inter Miami went to kick off in the center circle
All 26 MLS clubs would participate until FC Dallas was withdrawn on Monday after 10 players and one employee tested positive for the corona virus.
Nashville was able to follow Dallas after five players tested positive and four more required further tests.
On Tuesday, the Vancouver Whitecaps announced that five team members would not be making the trip to Orlando because of concerns about the corona virus.
Those same concerns caused Carlos Vela of LAFC, the league’s reigning MVP, to cancel the tournament on Monday.
Players from all over the league gathered on the field for the kick-off on Wednesday evening
Stars dressed in black t-shirts and gloves raised a fist as part of their demonstration