Soccer

MLS Is Back, With Orlando City Winning, Black Players’ Voices Growing and Nashville in Limbo

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“MLS Is Back” has transformed from aspiration to reality. Consternation over the conditions in, and strength of, the league’s Orlando bubble—plus this week’s ouster of FC Dallas—weren’t enough to derail the season’s resumption. Shortly after 8 p.m. ET on Wednesday evening, following four months of waiting, MLS returned to the field as host Orlando City defeated expansion Inter Miami, 2-1, in the MLS is Back Tournament opener.

There were no fans, lots of ads and audible shouting, an emotional pregame demonstration, a stoppage-time game-winner, a welcome opener from a player in need and a scary injury suffered by Miami defender Andrés Reyes in the first MLS game since early March, which doubled as a Group A contest in this unique summer competition. The remaining 23 clubs were scheduled to play three matches each at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports across the next 16 days, after which 16 survivors will move on to the knockout stage. The winner will earn a place in the 2021 Concacaf Champions League.

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