Orlando City and Inter Miami kick-off Group A (Eastern Conference), which also includes New York City FC, Philadelphia Union, Chicago Fire and Nashville FC.
The two Florida based clubs meet each other for the first time on Wednesday, with both teams hoping to secure a much-needed morale-boosting victory.
Orlando City team news & predicted line-up
Hosts Orlando City have been perennial underachievers since their inception five years ago. The latest iteration has seen Oscar Pareja handed the reigns ahead of the 2020 season. Pareja, the former Colorado Rapids and FC Dallas Head Coach, returns to MLS after a disappointing year with Liga MX outfit Tijuana.
The Colombian will be hoping that the MLS Is Back Tournament can help Orlando establish some much-needed consistency and team identity on home soil.
Predicted line-up (4-2-3-1): Pedro Gallese – Joao Moutinho, Robin Jansson, Antonio Carlos, Ruan – Sebas Mendez, Junior Urso – Nani, Chris Mueller, Mauricio Pereyra, Dom Dwyer
Inter Miami team news & predicted line-up
After years of excitement, controversy and uncertainty, Inter Miami finally made their Major League Soccer debut at the start of the 2020 season. Two games – and two losses – followed, before the league was suspended in March. Subsequently, Inter Miami will be looking forward to the MLS Is Back Tournament more than most.
Head Coach Diego Alonso will not be able to call upon new signing Leandro Gonzalez Pirez. The defender, who won MLS Cup whilst at Atlanta United, is ineligible for the entirety of the tournament due to transfer window regulations.
Inter Miami will also be without central defender Romain Torres due to suspension. Furthermore, the Miami Herald report that forward Robbie Robinson has left the tournament for personal reasons.
Predicted line-up (4-2-3-1) Luis Robles – Ben Sweat, Nico Figal, Dylan Nealis , Andres Reyes – Will Trapp, Victor Ulloa – Matias Pellegrini, Rodolfo Pizarro, Lewis Morgan – Julian Carranza
Ones to watch
Rodolfo Pizarro (Inter Miami) – The face of the franchise, Rodolfo Pizarro joined Inter Miami from Liga MX champions Monterrey. Now re-united with former coach Alonso, Pizarro will be expected to be the main offensive influence on the team. The Mexico international scored the club’s first MLS goal in the 2-1 defeat to D.C. United. Pizarro will be looking to continue his impressive form once the MLS Is Back Tournament begins.
Nani (Orlando City) – Portuguese veteran Nani is Orlando’s most important player and highest paid DP. In 2019, Nani produced admirable returns despite the team’s poor showing. The winger played 30 regular season games, scored 12 goals and provided 10 assists.
Matias Pellegrini (Inter Miami) – Inter Miami’s first signing, Matias Pellegrini, is a left winger with bags of potential. The 20-year-old transferred from Estudiantes de La Plata as a DP signing in 2019. With MLS veterans Brek Shea and Lee Nguyen also competing for a left-sided slot, Pellegrini may initially find himself in and out of the line-up. However, he is definitely one to watch.
Dom Dwyer (Orlando City) – Like Nani, DP Dom Dwyer is yet to feature for Orlando in 2020 – missing the first two MLS games with injury. The MLS Is Back Tournament may well prove to be a make-or-break moment for Dwyer’s Orlando future. Once a prolific goal-getter, the forward has struggled with injury and loss of form in recent times. Dwyer’s starting spot is under threat from Tesho Akindele, who scored 10 goals in 22 regular season starts in 2019.