Inter Miami CF took an entertaining 2-1 home victory over Atlanta United, riding a brace from Lewis Morgan and some heroic goalkeeping from Luis Robles to their second victory of their expansion season.
The match was open from the start, and Inter Miami had a golden chance six minutes in when Robbie Robinson got free on a breakaway after receiving a ball over the top. He laid it off to Rodolfo Pizarro for what looked like an easy finish, but Atlanta goalkeeper Brad Guzanmanaged to get a touch on Pizarro's ensuing shot and push the ball wide.
Miami continued to have the better opportunities throughout the opening stanza, and they were rewarded with the opener courtesy of a 28th-minute counterattack that was spearheaded by Pizarro. The Mexican international dished the ball to Morgan as he charged down the right flank, setting up the Scottish winger with a shot from a difficult angle that he expertly slotted past Guzan.
But the Fives Stripes equalized in the 33rd minute on an odd play that saw Eric Remedi try to back-heel a cross on goal, only to see it blocked by Miami defender Andres Reyes. The deflection settled right in front Remedi, allowing the midfielder to slot home from his position on the ground.
Morgan restored the advantage on 38 minutes, however, controlling a feed from Ben Sweat near the top of the area and curling home a gorgeous finish past a sprawling Guzan to give Inter Miami a 2-1 lead.
All of that preceded a wild penalty-kick sequence, which started in the 40th minute when Nicolas Figal made an ill-advised challenge on Atlanta's Jon Gallagher just inside the area, drawing a penalty kick call from referee Robert Sibiga.
Robles made a great diving save on Ezequiel Barco from the spot, but Cubo Torres crashed in to finish the rebound, only to see it wiped away on Video Review for encroachment by both teams. Barco was given a retake – it was ruled that a Miami player also encroached – which Robles denied again with another lunging save to the opposite side to preserve Miami's 2-1 lead.
- THE BIG PICTURE: These Eastern Conference teams have struggled to score in 2020, so it was refreshing to see the wide-open, goal-filled first half, even if it calmed down in the second. In the end, it's a big win for Inter Miami as they try to build some momentum and stack points to climb the standings.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: It has to be the first-half heroics from Luis Robles to deny Atlanta the equalizing penalty twice, both for the novelty of the moment and its greater significance in helping Miami earn all three points.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: The amazing Robles double-save on Barco makes a good case for the veteran goalkeeper, but Morgan's brace made the difference on the scoresheet. Morgan's played well for Miami since arriving from Celtic, and now has his first two MLS goals. If this performance is a sign that the 23-year-old's ready to break out, it could provide a big boost for Diego Alonso's team.