Soccer takes back seat as Orlando City beat Inter Miami in MLS return
Mike Ehrmann / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Major League Soccer became the first men's professional team sports league in North America to return amid the coronavirus pandemic, as Orlando City topped Inter Miami 2-1 in the opening match of the league's World Cup-style tournament Wednesday night.

The contest looked destined to end in a draw, but Orlando City captain Nani pounced on a loose ball inside the penalty area to slide home the winning goal in the 97th minute.

The action on the pitch was secondary all evening long, though.

Prior to the game, the newly formed Black Players Coalition of MLS organized a powerful demonstration to protest racial injustice and police brutality.

Black players from various clubs joined the two teams on the field, raising their fists in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement while wearing T-shirts with various messages in support of the Black community.

Once the match kicked off, the soccer itself was overshadowed by a scary injury to Inter Miami defender Andres Reyes. The 20-year-old was stretchered off early in the second half following a collision with Dom Dwyer and, according to the broadcast, was dealing with breathing issues after Dwyer's arm connected with his throat.

Players were visibly concerned while Reyes was down on the pitch, and they became increasingly annoyed with the amount of time it took for the stretcher to arrive and assist the young defender.

Reyes' injury, combined with a bevy of substitutions, resulted in 10 minutes of added time once the clock hit the 90-minute mark.

Nani, who earlier provided an assist for Chris Mueller's equalizer after Juan Agudelo previously gave Inter Miami the lead, capitalized on a last-gasp opening to give the Lions three points that will count toward the regular-season standings, assuming MLS continues after the one-off tournament ends next month.

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Soccer takes back seat as Orlando City beat Inter Miami in MLS return
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