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Florida Cup Date 1: Corinthians beats NYCFC, Atletico and Palmieras go to penalty kicks.

NYCFC player Amdonsam Prince receives the ball at Exploria Stadium in Orlando Florida on Wednesday January 15, 2020. Photo Credit: Marty Jean-Louis

As the MLS season creeps up on us, the annual Florida Cup tournament kicked off its first round of games as Brazil’s Corinthians beat the MLS’ NYCFC 2-1 in the opening match, followed by a 0-0 tie between Columbian’s Palmeiras against Atletico Nacional from Brazil. Palmeiras took the win by going 10-9 on penalty kicks.

There was plenty of excitement in the crowd as the 7.837 fans boldly cheered their teams with the usual noise, banners and non-stop chanting. It was a record attendance number for a weekday Florida Cup.

On the field, the Florida Cup, which is the one tournament that gives fans from South American teams the chance to compete with European teams, watch a young and inexperienced NYCFC squad from the MLS go against the experienced Corinthians. Why? NYCFC is not from Europe. Well, it turns out that the scheduled team fro Russia had to back out due to visa issues.

Florida Cup 2020: S.E Palmeiras vs Atletico Nacional match at Exploria Stadium in Orlando Florida on Wednesday January 15, 2020. Photo Credit: Marty Jean-Louis

Back to the action. Corinthians players drooled as they saw there were facing a bunch of academy players form New York. They dominated most of the first half. Luan drew first blood with a straight on free kick that he blasted past NYC goalie Barazza in the 11th minute for a 1-0 lead.

Carlos Silva headed weakly at Barraza in the 21st minute off a set piece as the Brazilian side continued to control play. Luan made it 2-0 after blasting a shot just inside the left post in the 30th minute.

New York did some shifting by taking out 9 players midway in the first period, but the tide didn’t change as the Brazillians continued to dominate.

NYCFC finally got a point in the 72nd minute after a ball was fired across from the corner and got by goalkeeper Walter Artune and a NYCFC attacker before hitting defender Sidcley Pereira in the face and bouncing into the net. It was an own goal but Florida Cup scoring gave it to Niko Kapanadze. Either way it pulled New York City FC within 2-1.

Florida Cup 2020: S.E Palmeiras vs Atletico Nacional match at Exploria Stadium in Orlando Florida on Wednesday January 15, 2020. Photo Credit: Marty Jean-Louis

The Second match of the Florida Cup’s opening night pits Colombia’s Palmeiras against Atletico National from Brazil.

Palmeiras opened the match aggressively when Eduardo Rodrigues Pereira (a.k.a. Dudu) blasted a shot at goalkeeper Daniel Munoz.

Nacional took their shot when Jefferson Duque blasted a decent try that made goalkeeper Weverton Pereira da Silva to some work to get the save. Dudu shot another scorcher minutes later that sailed over the crossbar.

After the exciting opening minutes of the match, things settled down, coming to a 0-0 tie at the half.

In the second period, both teams substituted goalies and Palmeiras’ goalie Julison got more work than the other side. Nacional came out of the locker room determined to draw first blood, and forced Julison to make several saves, including a 1-v-1 save in the 51st minute and then Jarlan Barrera should have scored for the Colombian side on the ensuing chip but the shot sailed just inches wide of the far post.

Palmeiras came close to winning it in the 89th minute after a Gabriel Veron Souza steal in the Nacional end and broke down the left side of the area. Veron Souzabeat Cuadrado with his shot but it skidded just inches wide of the far post. 

The game was settled on penalty kicks, where Palmeiras won by Palmeiras going 1- for 10 in shots, but Jalison stopped Yilmar Velasquez’ shot to win.

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