Orlando City Celebrates as Nani Scores and Becomes the Hero
The long awaited return of professional men’s soccer is here with the kick-off of the MLS is Back tournament. After months of planning and waiting, the first match did not disappoint.
#MLSisBACK kicked off July 8 under the cover of the coolness of the Florida evening — and, just with one match, a fierce Florida rivalry between Orlando City and Inter Miami CF was born.
It has been four long months, ever since March 12 when Major League Soccer shut down due to the impact of the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. Finally, MLS soccer has returned to the USA with all the teams cloistered in Orlando.
There was a serious moment before the #MLSisBACK match began honoring the lives lost from police brutality. With a moment of silence lasting 8:46 minutes, reflecting the 8:46 of police brutality that led to George Floyd’s death. Wearing shirts that with “Black and Proud” and “Silence is Violence”, MLS players silently flanked the sideline to remind everyone of the ongoing racial discrimination that must end.
The national anthem was not played before or after the demonstration. Originally launched as the Black Players Coalition of MLS, the organization opted for a new name this week, Black Players for Change, and peacefully used the #MLSisBACK kick off to focus attention on racism.
More than 170 players participated in the pregame protest.
In the second #MLSisBACK match, Philadelphia Union defeated NYCFC in with the help of Alejandro Bedoya. The Union earned the bragging rights in their opening game as the MLS’ Return To Play tournament continued Thursday morning with a final score of 1-0.
Bedoya scored in the 63rd minute the only goal in the Group A match which started at the early hour of 9 AM.
NYCFC did not go down easily and the Union’s goalkeeper Andre Blake was instrumental in the win, making save after save.
The players also had the phrase “One name too many” on the back of their jerseys.