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Inter Miami to host in-state rival Orlando City in round of 32 of Leagues Cup

Inter Miami now knows who they will be facing in the round of 32 of the Leagues Cup.

In-state rival Orlando City will make the short trip down to DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale to open the knockout rounds against Inter Miami on Wednesday night.

The matchup was determined dramatically by Saturday’s results. Orlando City scored a game-winner in the 92nd minute and needed a point-blank save in the 96th minute to defeat Mexican club Santos Laguna.

Inter Miami will have had seven days off once Wednesday arrives, while Orlando will have three.

Better yet, another star could be in line to make his Inter Miami debut.

Jordi Alba, a former teammate of Lionel Messi and Sergio Busquets at FC Barcelona, could be made available for the first time. The left-back signed with Inter Miami last week, but has not yet officially joined the team. However, he posted a photo of himself on a private plane headed to South Florida to his Instagram story on Saturday, indicating that his arrival to the team is near.

Miami and Orlando have faced each other 11 times in all competitions, with Orlando leading the series 5-3-3. They last squared off in late May, with Orlando taking it 3-1.

In addition, a Messi-themed mural in Miami was defaced this week, suspected by Orlando City fans. Purple paint was spread across the mural and read “FL is purple.” The mural has since been repaired, but could add some bitterness to the next chapter of the rivalry.

Meanwhile, Cruz Azul defeated Atlanta United in penalty kicks Saturday night and is the other team to advance out of Inter Miami’s group.

Tickets for the round-of-32 matchup already went on sale Wednesday, with it already known that Inter Miami would be hosting. That was established due to Inter Miami having more group stage points (6) than Orlando.

The winner will move on to the round of 16, which will be played Aug. 6, 7 or 8 against either FC Dallas or Mazatlán. If Dallas and Miami win, they will play in Dallas, but if Mazatlán wins, they will play in Fort Lauderdale.

The final and third-place matches are both scheduled for Aug. 19. Inter Miami’s next MLS regular-season match is slated the next day at home against Charlotte.

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