Duncan McGuire scored his ninth goal of the year to help the home team Orlando City tie 1-1 with Inter Miami despite being down a player midway through the second half.
After Orlando secured their berth in the 2023 MLS Cup playoffs midweek despite a loss to New York City FC, the goal helped Orlando maintain unbeaten in five all-time home games against Miami.
David Ruiz’s first goal for Inter Miami, which was scored without the assistance of Lionel Messi, Jordi Alba, or Sergio Busquets, was negated by McGuire’s equalizer.
Due to a scar tissue issue, Messi was held out, and Alba had muscle pain. The third former Barcelona teammate, Busquets, was given a break in preparation for Wednesday’s U.S. Open Cup final at home versus Houston Dynamo.
Orlando (14-7-9, 51 points) outshot Miami 13-9 overall and 6-5 when shots were on target, which was less dominating results than may have been anticipated in light of those absences.
With the outcome, Miami (9-15-5, 32 points) remained in 14th place in the Eastern Conference, but with two games remaining, they are only five points behind New York City FC for the ninth and last playoff spot.
The Herons, who are hopeful Messi and Alba will be healthy for the stretch run, have played two more league games than either NYCFC (37 points) or D.C. United (36 points), who are currently in 10th place.
Miami seized the lead early in the second half after Orlando had the best of the first half thanks to an assault that started when Dixon Arroyo made an interception in midfield and connected with Leonardo Campana on a through pass.
Josef Martinez’s low shot from the left side of the penalty area forced goalkeeper Pedro Gallese to dive to block it after Campana advanced the ball further.
Before Gallese could take up his previous position, Ruiz was the first to the rebound and he hammered his finish into an open goal.
Another midfield error led to McGuire’s equalizer before Dagur Thorhallsson, Martin Ojeda, and Wilder Cartagena all scored.
Last but not least, Ojeda passed a ball into the path of McGuire, who cut between Miami’s defense and finished low between Drake Callender’s legs.