Grading Inter Miami after another loss

Losses: 3. Goals: 2. Answers: None.  That is how you could sum up Inter Miami’s winless and point-less (but not pointless) performance in the MLS Is Back tournament group stage, which ended with a 1-0 defeat at the hands of NYCFC on Monday morning and a last place finish with 0 points in Group A. Grading Inter Miami reflects the team’s uncertainty.

We saw old mistakes and new questions arise for Diego Alonso’s squad, which played very much like an expansion team in a must-win game that turned into an uninspiring one-way ticket back to Miami.

On to the grades.

Important note: Only those who played at least 30 minutes will be graded. Those who didn’t will receive an Incomplete unless they did something otherworldly or were vital to the final outcome of the match.

Grading Inter Miami

Luis Robles (5):

He bore no responsibility in NYCFC’s goal, left out to dry by a defense that took a nap at the most inopportune time. Having said that, he never was a savior in this tournament and the final match was no exception.

Mikey Ambrose (3):

Ambrose was daydreaming about the new Splash Mountain ride when he got caught ball watching and Ismael Tajouri-Shradi slipped by him. Contributed nothing on offense either, got replaced by Ben Sweat in the 68th minute. Just a forgettable night overall.

Jorge Figal (4):

Figal had a good first half and could have scored with a header in the 35th minute, but he was once again exposed as one of the main culprits in NYCFC’s goal, losing sight of Shradi by no communicating with Ambrose and with no closing speed to make up for it. Alonso and the Inter Miami fans expect much more out of him.

Román Torres (6):

The Panamanian center back imposed himself when pressed to action and prevented what could have been New York´s second goal with a great sweep.

Dylan Nealls (5): Got lost in the shuffle before exiting the match in the 79th minute by Alvin Powell.

Will Trapp (4): NYCFC had possession 60% of the time, and that was in part because of the fact that Trapp could never assert himself in the heart of midfield. Replaced by Lee Nguyen in the 68th minute.

Víctor Ulloa (4): Was he auditioning for “Casper”? Because he was a ghost and went unnoticed before coming off the field for Jay Chapman in the 79th minute.

Matías Pellegrini (3): Miami´s lowest point along with Ambrose, but even more noticeable since he was supposed to be one of the catalysts on offense but did absolutely nothing. Could never connect with Pizarro or generate a single decent chance. Alonso took him out for Julián Carranza in the 68th minute.

Rodolfo Pizarro (5): He tried. Unsuccessfully, but he tried. The Mexican star was clearly frustrated, isolated in an island by the NYCFC defense. He’s unable to create a single opportunity for himself or others.

Lewis Morgan (6):

Morgan was Inter Miamí´s best player of the tournament. And he was the only one remotely close to destabilizing the opposing defense with his speed. His shot from medium distance was Inter´s lone non-header chance, and it went just high over the crossbar.

Juan Agudelo (4): Started out well with a beautiful header that didn´t put Miami in the lead because of a great save. But the Colombian striker did less and less after that and ended up going to the locker room before the final whistle because of a childish red card after pushing off in the box in the 90th minute.

Grading Inter Miami: the Others

Lee Nguyen (Inc.): Nguyen was supposed to give a spark to the Miami offense. But all he did was put the defense at risk losing the ball at midfield and creating a scoring chance for the opponent as a result.

Julián Carranza (Inc.): Alonso put him in too late with Inter Miami already down 0-1. And his partnership with Agudelo as dual strikers never blossomed.

Jay Chapman (Inc.): Meh.

Alvas Powell (Inc.): He was in the match?

Ben Sweat (Inc.): If Ambrose isn´t the answer, Sweat continues to prove that he isn´t either.

Starting Streak: Inter Miami CF Suffer Fourth Straight Loss

Kacper Pryzbylko’s 63rd minute goal led Philadelphia Union to a tight, 2-1 victory over Inter Miami CF.

In a game that featured over 30 fouls, a red card, and some VAR controversy, the Union were able to see out the victory despite Inter Miami’s late push for an equalizer. The three points gained by Philadelphia secured their spot in the knockout stages of the MLS is Back Tournament. For Inter Miami however, no points from two games only gives them a small chance to advance. They’ll need to win on Monday vs. NYCFC and hope that the three points, and whatever goal differential they finish with, is enough to be a top-4 third place team. Philadelphia will go on to battle Orlando City on July 20th to determine the winner of group A.

The Match’s Opening Moments

Philadelphia opened the scoring with a very early goal. In the fifth minute, Inter Miami struggled to clear the ball away in a threatening area. Robles was faced with a hard, low shot from Kai Wagner, where his touch wasn’t enough to keep it out of the back of the net. This is now Robles’ second conceded goal in two games where he had a touch, but ultimately could not keep the ball from getting through.

Following the goal, Inter Miami responded with positive play. They controlled the game from that point forward, and were rewarded with a goal from a counterattack in the 36th minute.

Lewis Morgan was quick to dribble up the midfield only to find Rodolfo Pizarro for a nice 1-2 at the end of the box. Morgan then played a through ball to Matias Pellegrini, who found Pizarro back in the box and after some nifty footwork, scored.

Miami stayed on the front foot to finish out the first half, and luckily for Philadelphia, no more goals were scored. When the second half whistle blew, Miami still looked to commit numbers forward and control the game.

Inter Miami CF Fought in Second Half

Committing numbers forward gave Miami three good chances to start the second half. Julian Carranza failed to play a perfect ball in correctly. Although the defenders were split, Andre Blake was quick off of his line to stop the threat. Morgan was also faced with a great opportunity but a shot on his weaker foot did not have enough power behind it to beat Blake. Pizarro then had a great run that put him inside the area, but was unlucky to find Carranza on the edge of the six yard box.

In the 63rd minute, Pizarro was fouled about 25 yards out in the corner of the field. No yellow was given. But a failed free kick cross led to Brenden Aaronson sprinting down the field only to find himself with the ball at his feet in a 3-on-1 situation. He laid off the ball to Pryzbylko who did great to get the ball on his left foot on the end of the box and find the bottom corner with a shot. Robles was beaten for the second time in the match. Inter were down by a goal with less than 30 minutes to play.

Subs Doing Work

MLS Veteran Lee Nguyen was subbed on along with MLS debutant Jerome Kiesewetter in the 68th minute following the goal.

In the 74th minute, Carranza was given another great through ball with which he failed to control.

Just a minute later, and seven minutes after being subbed on, Kiesewetter’s efforts in the press almost led him to winning a penalty for Inter Miami. After a long pause in play following a foul, and a review from VAR, a penalty call was disallowed after claims of a handball. Kiesewetter would argue he was pushed in the back.

In what was an amazing chance for Inter to tie the game, Roman Torres won a header from a corner. However, it was met by the crossbar. No luck for Inter Miami late seems to be the theme amongst their first four games.

Victor Ulloa and Ben Sweat were subbed off in the 87th minute for Jay Chapman and Mikey Ambrose. Ulloa looked to be injured after making a game-saving tackle just minutes before. But he walked off the field on his own power.

The eight added minutes gave Inter Miami more than enough time to create chances, and they did. Unfortunately, after a headed effort from Carranza and a missed opportunity from Chapman inside the box, Inter could not convert.

After throwing numbers forward, Miami were caught again with another Philadelphia counterattack. The attack resulted in Andres Reyes fouling a Union player. Reyes would then be seeing his second yellow card of the match. The red card shown will now prohibit Reyes from playing in the match vs. NYCFC on Monday. Diego Alonso will be forced to change some defensive tactics due to the suspension.

Disappointing End

Inter Miami finished the game with 55% possession, over 70 more completed passes, and 3 more shots unblocked. The eye-test would conclude that Inter were unlucky to not come out of this match with at least a point.

July 20th, 9 AM EST is when Inter Miami CF kick off again, this time facing NYCFC. Both teams have started off the tournament with two losses. And they will both be looking for victory and a shot at qualifying for the knockout round.

Inter Miami

Orlando City 2-1 Inter Miami: Grading Inter Miami

Inter Miami had its official induction as a Miami team delivering its fans the first “What the hell just happened?” loss of its brief and winless existence as Nani completed Orlando City’s comeback victory with a 97th minute goal that sealed the fate of Diego Alonso’s squad in the inaugural match of the MLS Is Back tournament.

The match was a rollercoaster of emotions with goals, crazy injuries and a moving Black Lives Matter demonstration by both teams. However, Inter Miami itself was a mixed bag. They will have to make important tweaks ahead of a must-win matchup against the Chicago Fire next Tuesday.

Let’s take a look at how each Inter Miami player fared by grading them individually from 1 to 10.

Important note: Only those who played at least 30 minutes will be graded. Those who didn’t will receive an Incomplete unless they did something otherworldly or were vital to the final outcome of the match.

Grading Inter Miami

Luis Robles (5): Inter Miami’s goalkeeper started out great with an amazing diving save in the 22nd minute with the match still 0-0, but he could and should have done more in Orlando City’s first goal as the ball crossed the box and he remained paralyzed under the crossbar. Nothing for him to do in Nani’s goal.

 

Andrés Reyes (7): Reyes was having a great night as the leader of the five-man defense until Dom Dwyer’s vicious elbow sent him to the hospital in the 58th minute. The Colombian back showed great poise, and his absence destabilized the Inter Miami defense. The tying Orlando City goal came just a couple of minutes after his exit.

Ben Sweat (3): The complete opposite of Reyes. Insecure and full of doubts. He tried to score off a free kick with his hand, but he is no Maradona. He looked lost, and to make things worse Nani´s goal came off a silly deflection off his shin as he clumsily stumbled into a teammate trying to clear a cross in the heart of the box.

Mikey Ambrose (5): The left back was a non-factor against his former team. Didn´t have trouble on defense, but didn´t contribute on offense either.

Jorge Figal (3): The Argentinian veteran is supposed to be a steadying presence, but instead he seemed to be skittish and unnerved by Mueller and especially Dwyer, Orlando City´s only “true” forward.  He wasn’t paying attention and the ball deflected off him after the cross before it found Nani.

Dylan Nealls (3,5): Nealls lost to Nani way more than he won in their personal duel. The difference in speed and talent between him and a world-class player like Nani was evident as the world-class Portuguese midfielder left him in the dust before the assist for Orlando’s first goal.

Will Trapp (6): The central midfielder had the hockey assist in Agudelo´s goal and was crisp and tried to partner up with Matías Pellegrini before being replaced by Jay Chapman in the 79th minute. All in all, correct performance.

Víctor Ulloa (8): Very versatile next to Trapp and did a great job appearing in the box by surprise to serve Agudelo the scoring chance in a silver platter. Inter Miami´s Man of the Match.

Matías Pellegrini (7,5): Talking about scoring chances in silver platters, the 20-year-old Argentinian midfielder was the team´s main and best offensive threat all match long. He should have had an assist in the 8th minute with a great play, but Agudelo missed the point blank shot in the most unexplainable way.

 

Lewis Morgan (6): Another good option on offense down the right side, but he needs to stand out more if he wants to have steady minutes in the long run.

Juan Agudelo (6): Started out like a 2 missing the aforementioned chance created by Pellegrini´s cross, and then tried to score from midfield in the first half. Credit to him, though, for being where a striker should be to score. Got lost in the shuffle during the last 40 minutes as Orlando City dominated.

SUBS

Rodolfo Pizarro (6): The Mexican star came in for Reyes in the 58th minute and tried to provide a spark with his talent and creativity.

Julian Carranza (Inc.): Replaced Agudelo in the 73rd  minute. He is the superior striker and got yellow carded 10 minutes later.

Luis Argudo (Inc.): Came into the match in the 78th minute in place of Morgan as part of a triple substitution by coach Diego Alonso.

Lee Nguyen (Inc.): Nguyen is trying to regain his 2014 form and was dynamic during his 20 minutes of action in place of Pellegrini in the 78th minute. Don´t be surprised if he is more of a factor in the next two matches.

Jay Chapman (Inc.): Came in for Trapp. Almost made it 2-1 Inter Miami in the 88th minute with a header that just missed.

     

 

 

 

Five Reasons Sports

Martin Bater’s Intro to Five Reasons Sports

You pack your bags, you say goodbye, and you look back at that place you loved knowing you would eventually be back someday. On February 13, 2018, I started a 33-hour, 4-day road trip from Fort Lauderdale to Phoenix leaving not only the life I knew and my family behind, but also my passion of covering sports for ESPN Deportes to become an Interpreter for the Arizona Diamondbacks. That road trip took me to Gainesville, Mardi Gras and a close call in Texas, but that’s a story for another time, Five Reasons Sports fans.

Fast forward to June 18, 2020. I’m back to covering South Florida sports, this time for Five Reasons Sports, and damn if it doesn’t feel good to be reunited.

A little bit about myself: My name doesn’t sound very Hispanic, but I was born and raised in Argentina before moving to Miami in 2002. People say Andy Murray and Benedict Cumberbatch are my dopplegangers (thanks?), and I love going to Graziano’s in Coral Gables for a tasty Milanesa with French fries.

Fútbol is my religion, but I also am an unconditional basketball, baseball and football fan. I arrived in South Florida just in time for the Heat to steal my heart and for the Dolphins to break it.

Yup, I missed the entire Dan Marino era and the first NFL game I ever saw was Tom Brady’s Super Bowl upset against Kurt Warner’s Rams. I didn’t imagine that would be the first chapter of the next 18 years of my football fandom. On the bright side, I got started with the Marlins winning the World Series and I had the privilege of witnessing the Dwyane Wade era in its entirety. The Panthers? I do hope that this new decade and the brand-new opportunity that they are about to have in the playoffs show me what I missed back in 1996.

I’m convinced about certain things in sports, and one of them is that the Designated Hitter doesn’t belong in the National League. I spent two seasons having a great time with the Diamondbacks as the team’s Interpreter before they made their COVID-19 related employee cuts last month, and I had the privilege of seeing Zack Greinke dissect the craft of hitting in Arizona. Greinke isn’t just a great pitcher capable of owning the moment in Game 7 of the World Series, but a legitimately great hitter as well.

We are talking about a guy who called his first career home run and is fifth among active pitchers in  career homers. I remember a night in April 2 of last year in San Diego when Greinke struck out 10 in six innings while also going 2-for-4 with 2 home runs, the first one traveling 413 feet to center field at one of the hardest parks to hit in the Majors. Then he left on a trade to the Astros and I got to see Madison Bumgarner (you know, the only pitcher to ever hit two homers on Opening Day) in action every day.

I can tell you with 100% certainty that Greinke’s and Bumgarner’s passion for hitting rubbed off on the rest of the staff. Robbie Ray, former Marlin Zac Gallen and Luke Weaver all pride themselves on being able to drive in a runner from second as well. And we want to take that away from them and others out of fear of injury or because we want more offense? What you are doing is making the game more predictable and less strategic.

You can also expect my takes on how Inter Miami will be the first to win a championship for South Florida this decade, why Maradona > Messi and Pelé, and witness me hopping on the already crowded Tua bandwagon.

My main goal will be to make you forget all the B.S. the world seems determined to throw at us on a daily basis right now with fun interviews and opinions you can love or hate me for. I will welcome your comments and I look forward to getting on this ride with you.

Five Reasons Sports brought me back home, and I am elated to be here.

How Major League Soccer will Return

Major League Soccer will return with all 26 teams set to arrive in Orlando starting June 24. The “MLS is Back Tournament” will take place between July 8-August 11. Yesterday morning, the league announced all rules and new COVID-19 regulations for the tournament, which will take place at ESPN Wide World of Sports at Disney World Resort in Florida. The return is just a few weeks away.

The Group Stage (July 8 – July 23)

In a World Cup style format, teams are to to be placed amongst six different randomly drawn groups. The Western and Eastern Conference will have 3 groups each, but different layouts when it comes to how many teams will be placed in each. Group A will feature Orlando City SC along with five other teams from the Eastern Conference. However, Groups C and E will feature four clubs each from the East. Atlanta United and Toronto FC will split into the remaining of the two Eastern groups. On the Western side, groups B, D, and F, will all have four teams each. LAFC, Seattle Sounders, and Real Salt Lake will be placed in separately in these groups.

In a traditional style group stage in any tournament around the world, each team has a chance to play against all the other teams in the group. With the league announcing there will only be three group stage matches, participants in Group A won’t be able to faceoff against the entire group. To aid the grouping and numbers, Nashville SC will temporarily play as an Eastern Conference team. All three group stage matches will count towards the 2020 regular season. The draw for the groups will happen this afternoon at 3:30 EST.

The Knockout Tournament (July 25 – August 11)

After the group stage, set to end on July 23, the top two teams from each group, and the four best third place teams will be seeded into a knockout tournament. There will only be one match in knockout play, with a tie game going directly into penalty kicks.

  • Round of 16 – July 25-28
  • Quarterfinals – July 30-August 1
  • Semifinals – August 5-6
  • Final – August 11

All times are TBA.

What to Play for

MLS announced after the new CBA deal was reached, that there is a $1.1 million prize pool. The tournament will allow the players to earn bonuses. It’s been rumored that there is also a trophy that will be lifted on August 11, but there’s one prize that makes this tournament serious.

Other than the fact that the three group stage matches will count towards the regular season, teams will be playing hard all tournament because of a 2021 CONCACAF Champions League spot that will be granted to the winner. Regardless if it’s an American or Canadian club, this one time berth into the CCL will be replacing the spot that is usually awarded to the top team in the conference that doesn’t have the winners of the Supporters Shield.

Inter Miami CF was cleared to return to full team training earlier this week. Fans will hope it’s enough time to put the club ahead of the rest, turn around the 2020 season, and qualify for the CCL in its inaugural year.

The league also announced that the 2020 regular season will take place shortly following the finale of the “MLS is Back Tournament.”

 

 

Inter Miami returning to training in Fort Lauderdale

The return of Inter Miami CF is closer than ever as the club announced this afternoon that they have received approval from Major League Soccer to begin full team training as early as this week.

 

The MLS debutants played only two matches to kick off their inaugural campaign and were on the heels of making their much-anticipated home debut versus the Los Angeles Galaxy prior to MLS, and the rest of the sports world shut down due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.

 

MLS lifted the team training moratorium on June 4 and Inter Miami was one of the first clubs to release their plans to return to training with a comprehensive explanation of procedures which highlighted all of the main points in helping both stop contamination and keeping athletes and staff members safe as they returned to training.

 

Before sending their plans to MLS, Inter Miami CF had to have its plans approved by the Club’s medical staff and local infectious disease experts.

 

According to MLS, “A strict schedule of COVID-19 testing will also be required, and full team training is mandatory after previously being in the phase for voluntary small group training.”

 

On May 6, players began to slowly return as part of the voluntary individual training sessions, but now the club has the green light to return to full team training at Inter Miami CF Training Center.

 

Inter Miami CF will now begin preparations for their return to the pitch as MLS has also agreed on a summer return in late-June with a Tournament in Orlando with three group games and a 16-team knockout round.

 

Five names who could land with Inter Miami

It’s fair to say that things haven’t quite gone to plan for David Beckham and co since Inter Miami made their first strides into the MLS. It’s currently two defeats from as many games with just one goal to their name and, on top of that, the expected star quality is yet to be truly sprinkled on the squad.

 

We’re sure the results will turnaround soon enough for Diego Alonso’s men but getting a noteworthy signing in might take a little longer. Here we look at five names who might be that arrival that Inter needs to surprise in the MLS table.

Number 5. Jurgen Damm​

Okay, so Damm is hardly the name would draw in viewers from Europe, but he’s well known this side of the pond for his impact with Tigres in Liga MX. He has a dozen Mexico caps to his name and can operate on either flank where he is a constant threat to his opponents thanks to his pace, which was once clocked at a rapid 35km per hour – enough to earn him the title as the world’s second fastest player.

 

He’s out of contract and only 27 so still has plenty to offer. It would still be a relatively decent statement signing given that several MLS clubs along with European sides Roma and Besiktas have had links made. The odds of this happening still remain long though with Beckham likely keen on a more global name. ​

Number 4. Daniel Sturridge​

Not that Beckham really needs much help to pitch Inter Miami as an attractive proposition but the fact that Sturridge grew up watching his compatriot on television is bound to give Miami an edge as DC United also line up talks with the former England international.

 

Despite a fine scoring record throughout his career, he now finds his livelihood in soccer hanging by a thread after betting breaches have seen him suspended from the game.

 

Injury problems have undoubtedly played their part in seeing him go from Premier League sharpshooter to an unattached rule breaker but at 30-years-old he’s hardly over the hill. A fit and focussed Sturridge would score goals for fun in the MLS.​ However, if Daniel does turn up in the US, at least he might want to shift his focus to BetAmerica.com baseball online betting to avoid being banned from soccer practice again.

Number 3. Edinson Cavani​

Now here is a name that would prick up the ears of global soccer fans. Cavani is leaving Ligue 1 giants PSG this summer with his contract up and he’s keen to find regular game time after only featuring in 600 minutes of league action this season. His output throughout his career has been nothing short of phenomenal with his spell at Napoli his most impressive in terms of goals to game ratio with a goal every 1.3 matches. Mind you, 200 in 301 in France isn’t half bad either! Some will point to his 33 years but, despite a few niggles in the 2019/20 campaign, Cavani is far from past it with several major European clubs – including Inter Milan – chasing him.

 

Beckham might need to pull out all the stops to convince Cavani to turn his back on Europe but the fact he’d be some five hours closer to his homeland of Uruguay – and a handsome pay packet – might be a good starting point.​

 

Number 2. Rogelio Funes Mori

On the surface of it, you might be forgiven for thinking that the concerns over whether or not Damm’s profile would be enough to tempt Beckham to bring a relative unknown (to European fans) in apply to Funes Mori too. Scratch a little deeper though and you’ll quickly see why he’d be willing to sacrifice a worldwide profile for one and, potentially, not the other.

 

Mori has been in Mexico, where he plays for Monterrey, since 2015 and has proven himself to be a deadly center forward. In 200 games he’s knocked in 101 goals and provided a further 27 assists for team. Monterrey will be desperate to keep him but a move for Mori might prove somewhat easier than luring someone of Cavani’s ilk. ​

Number 1. James Rodriguez​

This man would be an enormous coup for Inter Miami. Not only is James a talented ball player but he’s also in the prime years of his career at 28. James started out in his native Colombia, for whom he’s shined at international level, but quickly moved to Argentinian outfit Banfield. From there he’s gone to FC Porto – where he won the Europa League – Monaco, Real Madrid, a loan to Bayern Munich and back to Madrid for combined fees of $150m.

 

He’s now back with Real Madrid but establishing himself in their side looks hugely unlikely given he’s only managed 124 appearances since signing in 2014. Given that an in-form James will be one from the very top drawer, Miami will face serious competition from Europe with Real’s rivals Atletico and English trio Everton, Newcastle and – less realistically – Manchester United all mentioned as possible destinations.

 

Even so, if Beckham can pull out all the stops then James could dominate the MLS and make Miami a genuine force to be reckoned with.​

There you have it, five names who could be pulling on the Inter Miami strip in the coming months. Who would you most like to see come to Florida? ​

 

CORONAVIRUS Sports Tracker: Frequent Updates

The widespread coronavirus outbreak has impacted professional and collegiate sports across the nation.

Most recent at the top….

Hey, finally some good news!

—-
THE MASTERS is now postponed. Could mark first time in history that the tournament is not played in April.


—-

THE PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP is now cancelled, along with every PGA event till the first week of April.

…..

Charles Barkley is among the latest to self-quarantine.

 

The Heat are working on something to help arena workers. More details to come.

 

Some NBA teams are doing the right thing.

 

Dwyane Wade doesn’t understand what the local school officials here are doing.

 

The XFL has caved. So much for the rebirth… for now.

 

It’s now infecting international soccer.

 

NBA will be suspended for 30 days.

Essentially that means the regular season is over.

 

Goodbye March Madness.

 

More details on the NBA coming soon.

 

Dan Gilbert is ahead of Micky Arison on something.

One league seems intent on outlasting all the others.

The entire ACC has postponed spring practice for all teams, which may also put the Hurricanes spring game in jeopardy.

 

Fans of the Marlins will have to wait a few extra weeks…

The American Airlines Arena has canceled all major events for the rest of March.

 

There will also be no NFL Spring meeting in Palm Beach for the time being.

 

 

The National Hockey League has suspended their season as well.

 

 

 

The Florida Atlantic University basketball season is over….

NFL now headed for a shutdown. Hard to see how free agency proceeds as scheduled…

So much for that InterMiami home debut.

Yes, it is already affecting prep for the NFL draft.

We are now waiting on the NHL.

A second NBA star has been diagnosed.

 

After it was learned Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the virus, the NBA has suspended the season indefinitely.

 

The NCAA had already announced that all men’s and women’s basketball tournaments would be held without fans.

 

Locally, besides the Miami Heat other sporting events are being cancelled or postponed including the upcoming Miami Open.

 

Inter Miami CF Sign Rodolfo Pizarro

For weeks there had been speculation surrounding Rodolfo Pizarro and his rumored move to Inter Miami. On Wednesday, C.F. Monterrey announced in a press release that Pizarro “unilaterally rescinds his contract with the club due to his wish to continue his sports career with the new MLS franchise in Miami.”

Although there is still no official word of the transfer fee, the number being thrown around is just shy of $12 million. The issues Inter ran into when going after Pizarro had mostly to do with the release clause and how much Paul McDonough was willing to spend. Monterrey was looking for a sum between $17 million and $20 million, but Miami was not spending that much. The Athletic reported that with the $12 million transfer fee, Inter Miami also gains 100% rights to Pizarro, meaning no sell-on clause. Miami had the option to trigger a fee around $10 million, but only retain 80% of Pizarro’s future transfer fee if he were to move on from MLS. Fans and media are still waiting on Inter Miami’s official announcement.

Rodolfo Pizarro – The Player

Pizarro will become Inter Miami’s second Designated Player, and are rumored to save the last spot for a European talent. At 25 years old, Pizarro is at a great spot in his career and has a lot to offer. On the ball, Pizarro is crafty, and loves shielding off defenders and plays low to the ground. His ability to retain possession going forward will offer the front line a lot of chances. Pizarro, when given a chance, also has the ability to score himself. Inside the box Pizarro knows how to find the back of the net.

Inter Miami head coach Diego Alonso is very familiar with Rodolfo Pizarro having coached him at Pachuca and Monterrey. Pizarro had become one of Liga MX’s top players under Alonso at such a young age, and he also became a regular with the Mexican National Team over the last couple years. His experience playing under Alonso and his talent will likely give him the starting role as Miami’s attacking midfielder. The signing could also allow Alonso to play his past desired formation, a 4-2-3-1, where the attacking midfield role is so critical.

Here is how Inter Miami CF could line up on March 1st

Head Coach: Diego Alonso

Formation: 4-2-3-1

Striker: Jerome Kiesewetter (Julian Carranza out 10-12 weeks with leg muscle injury.)

Left Winger: Matias Pellegrini

Attacking Midfielder: Rodolfo Pizarro

Right Winger: Lewis Morgan

Central Defensive Midfielders: Wil Trapp and Victor Ulloa

Left Back: Ben Sweat

Center Backs: Roman Torres and Nico Figal

Right Back: Alvas Powell

Goalkeeper: Luis Robles

You can check out the first ever Inter Miami Podcast, “The Black and Pink Show” over on Cinco Razones Deportes Network where the signing is discussed, as well as the starting XI. Included is also very insightful interview on Jerome Kiesewetter from his former club’s current podcast provider, Seriously Loco.

Inter Miami Target $15m Striker in Early MLS Show of Strength

The day of reckoning is closing in.

Very soon South Florida will finally have the MLS soccer side it has been craving.

There have been firm plans in place for a soccer team in Miami since early 2012 when MLS commissioner Don Garber confirmed the league’s interest in placing an expansion franchise in the city. David Beckham coming on board certainly helped smooth the process and as recently as December a new manager has been selected for the team.

CNN reported that former Uruguayan international Diego Alonso will take charge for their opening fixtures, the first of which comes away against Los Angeles FC. Beckham’s former club LA Galaxy is the first opponents at the Lockhart Stadium on March 14th.

Miami’s name takes inspiration from that of Italian side Inter Milan. Their full title is Football Club Internazionale Milano, whereas Miami’s full title is Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami, but the similarity between the names by which their known is recognizable. Like the major teams in Europe, Miami are now involved in transfer rumors and speculation.

With the squad already firmly in place, they are now looking to add a marquee signing to their ranks to help further boost their profile. They have already added two exciting young players via the first draft; with one, Robbie Robinson, having scored 24 goals in 47 appearances for Clemson Tigers. He represents real potential for the future of the U.S. National side.

Drafts are not something Europe is familiar with, but transfer speculation is, and this winter Inter Miami are involved in their fair share of chatter. Across in Europe, several major players are looking to move with Inter Milan keenly involved in a transfer tussle; bwin reported how the Italian giants are favorites to sign Danish star Christian Eriksen as they challenge for the title in Italy. The fee is thought to be around the €15m mark ($13m), the sort of fee that Miami are also being linked with spending.

They’re not likely to attract top European talent like Eriksen, yet, but it is suggested they might loan Celtic youngster Lewis Morgan. As well as that, they’re also being touted as a possible destination for Roger Martinez. MLS Soccer reports that he could be the subject of a $15m swoop ahead of the new season.

The 25-year-old is currently playing in Mexico with Club América where he’s hit 12 goals in 56 games, coming off the back of a loan spell in Spain with Villarreal. He’s a Colombian international too, having played 18 times for his country. He’s scored twice, once against Haiti but also getting the winner in a famous 1-0 victory against Argentina in this year’s Copa America.

There’s little doubt both targets are a real show of strength from Miami. Lewis Morgan is a hot prospect in Scotland and plays for arguably one of the biggest clubs in Europe in Celtic. If they could attract him, an exciting young prospect with international ambitions, it would send a signal to the rest of the MLS.

Not quite as much as a swoop for Martinez would. He’s a player that would undoubtedly be one of their key men and who could give them hope of some level of success in their inaugural MLS season.