July 8 (UPI) — A new rivalry between Inter Miami CF and Orlando City SC will open Wednesday’s MLS is Back Tournament. The Orlando, Fla., tournament marks the return of Major League Soccer after a three-month suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic.
BetMGM has Inter Miami as a +145 favorite to win the matchup, which means bettors would win $145 dollars if they wagered $100 on Inter Miami to win. The first-year MLS squad lost to LAFC and D.C. United in March before the season was suspended.
Orlando City had a scoreless draw in their first game of the season before they lost to the Colorado Rapids in their second game. Orlando City is a +175 bet to win the match against Inter Miami.
“Part of the reason I came to this organization, I wanted to be part of history,” Inter Miami goalkeeper Luis Robles told reporters Tuesday. “I wanted to be part of something special.
“To have an opportunity to help lead the team out on the field to not only hope to lead the team to our first ever win, but hopefully our first win against our rivals Orlando City.”
Inter Miami and Orlando City will kick off at 8 p.m. EDT Wednesday at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. The game will air on ESPN.
The Disney-owned campus plans to house 25 of MLS’ 26 teams through group-stage play until July 23. The tournament will then enter a single elimination playoff format before the Aug. 11 final.
Inter Miami is led by designated players Rodolfo Pizarro and Matias Pellegrini, in addition to MLS veterans Wil Trapp and Robles. Orlando SC stars include forwards Tesho Akindele and Luis Nani, goalie Pedro Gallese and Antonio Carlos and Junior Urso.
“We respect that it’s a difficult game,” Nani said. “It’s a very exciting game, everyone wants to see what’s going to happen. [In Inter Miami’s first two games] I saw a good team. They’re building a strong team with good players.”
Tournament field, LAFC favored
The league on Tuesday postponed Wednesday’s planned matchup between Nashville SC and Chicago Fire FC after five Nashville players tested positive for COVID-19 since they arrived in Orlando on Friday.
Reigning league champion LAFC is favored to win the tournament despite star striker Carlos Vela’s announcement Monday that he will not participate in the tournament. Vela — last season’s MLS MVP — said he does not want to cause risk for his pregnant wife amid the pandemic.
The MLS is Back Tournament continues Thursday when New York City FC battles the Philadelphia Union and the Montreal Impact face the New England Revolution. The tournament’s weekend slate will include five games.