Inter Miami goalkeeper Luis Robles couldn’t help but voice his frustration after his team's 2-1 loss against Orlando City to begin the MLS is Back Tournament, focusing on a pivotal moment in the 51st minute.
That’s when Orlando striker Dom Dwyer caught Miami center back Andres Reyes with a high elbow in the neck, forcing the Colombian youngster to exit on a stretcher in the 58th minute. Miami held a 1-0 lead at that point, and then the Lions scored twice beyond the 70th minute to ensure the expansion side dropped their third straight game during their introductory MLS season.
“For us to lose a guy like Andres who’s in the middle of the park, who’s having a great game, it completely changed the entire complexion of the game,” Robles said via a Zoom press conference. “I don’t even blame Dom, that’s just the way he plays, and like I said I respect the way he plays – that’s why he’s been so successful. But then the worst part is that the referee tells me that it’s our own guy, so then it shows me – I’m just completely confused by what he’s watching, because when he watched the play, it’s just him and Andres.”
Miami head coach Diego Alonso said postgame that he didn’t have an update on the condition of his defender, but the club issued an update the morning after the incident, confirming that Reyes was released from the hospital and in good spirits. Miami will hope for a speedy recovery before their second Group A match, a July 14 clash against Chicago Fire FC (9 am ET | ESPN, ESPN Deportes in US; TSN in Canada).
Inter Miami were already without Roman Torres due to a red-card suspension, and recent acquisition Leandro Gonzalez Pirez isn’t available for the MLS is Back Tournament due to transfer window rules. Instead, center mid Victor Ulloa dropped into the back line with Nicolas Figal marshaling the group.
“I’m just going to point to that play because in the end it completely changed the match, which leaves us a bit sour and, of course, now we have to regroup because there’s two more games coming up in the group stage and we lost one of our best defenders,” Robles said. “Again, I don’t even put that on Dom, I put that on the ref. It’s very, very poor officiating from him today.”
Despite his choice words for head referee Rubiel Vazquez, Robles later added that he doesn’t want to make excuses for Miami’s 0W-3L-0D start to their expansion season. Still, the club captain felt as though Dwyer’s rough first-half play could have been handled better, possibly avoiding the Reyes incident altogether.
Looking ahead, Robles said it’s incumbent upon players like him to guide Miami out of this rough patch. He’s approaching 250 regular-season appearances in MLS, and previously admitted to debating retirement after leaving the New York Red Bulls this past offseason. But the 36-year-old believes in the project and that better days await the South Florida newcomers.
“The only way we’re going to be able to do it is by sticking together and believing in what we’re building here [and] maintain a great spirit, because we have an incredible locker room,” Robles said. “The chemistry in the locker room is phenomenal and I believe it’s on that foundation that we can change this, that we can start getting points, that we can start getting wins. And this season is something we can look to and know that it’s the fortitude that comes from within that locker room that’s going to be able to change the tide."