Original Free Kick: Inter Miami CF earns home win over Atlanta United (9.9.20)

Atlanta United player Eric Remedi handles ball during home contest against the Philadelphia Union.
Photo credit: Atlanta United Communications

Lewis Morgan’s two goals paced Inter Miami CF to a 2-1 home victory over visiting Atlanta United in Major League Soccer action Wednesday night at Inter Miami CF Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Morgan’s first goal of the night came in the 28th minute. The play started on a counter attack by Miami (2-6-2, eight points) with Rodolfo Pizarro pushing the ball into the penalty area and passing it to Morgan who’s right-footed shot past Atlanta goalkeeper Brad Guzan gave the home team the 1-0 lead.

Atlanta (3-5-2, 11 points) tied the score 1-1 in the 33rd minute on a goal by Eric Remedi. The midfielder’s shot was blocked in the penalty area but he retrieved the rebound and pushed a right-footed shot while falling past Miami goalkeeper Luis Robles.

Miami retook the lead 2-1 on Morgan’s second goal of the night in the 38th minute. Ben Sweet’s crossing pass into the penalty area was brought down by Morgan who chipped a right-footed shot past Guzan.

Atlanta appeared to tie the score 2-2 in the 43rd minute on Erick “Cubo” Torres’ goal off a rebounded penalty shot that was taken by Ezequiel Barco but saved by Robles. The penalty shot attempt was awarded to the road team after Miami player Nicholas Figal elbowed Atlanta player Jon Gallagher in the penalty area. Figal was given a yellow card for the foul.

However, referee Robert Sibigal dismissed the goal due to a player from each team entering the penalty area before the shot attempt after the VAR review. The final ruling was a retake of the penalty shot. The second penalty attempt by Barco was saved by Robles in the 47th minute.

Atlanta outshot Miami 8-4 in the first half and led in possession 58.9 percent to 41.1 percent. Each team took two corner kicks as well.

Atlanta’s best opportunities to tie the score in the second half came on a low free kick by Torres in the 55th minute and Emerson Hyndman’s shot attempt just outside of the penalty area in the 79th minute. Both attempts were saved by Robles.

Atlanta outshot Miami 13-8, attempted more corner kicks (7-4) and led in possession 58.8 percent to 34.8 percent.

“We gave up two cheap goals in the first half,” Atlanta player Brooks Lennon said. “Both goals came off of our mistakes. One came off of a set piece that that got cleared out and we weren’t positioned in the right area and they were able to score a goal that we shouldn’t give away. We had possession most of the night but it doesn’t matter you have to put the ball in the back of the net. We had our chances but unfortunately we didn’t do that tonight. We missed the penalty kick and had one called back that would have been the equalizer. Just a tough night overall. We can’t dwell on this performance. We’re very, very disappointed but have to move forward.”

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