Inter Miami return to MLS action on August 22 against in-state rivals Orlando City. For each day leading up to the game, I’ll be going into detail explaining one of my five reasons to be excited about Inter Miami. These five reasons, and dates of all and each coming piece, are listed below:
Reasons to be Excited About Inter Miami
- New Signings (August 17)
- Return of Robbie? (August 18)
- Playing with More Experience (August 19)
- Potential Acquisitions (August 20)
- First Home Game (August 21)
Matchday will feature a pre and post-game piece as well.
Suddenly and surprisingly, Inter Miami went out and acquired Blaise Matuidi. At 33 years old, Matuidi instantly fills in a hole in the midfield that Inter Miami struggled with in the recent Orlando tournament.
Matuidi’s role over the last couple of years has varied in terms of position. As a left-back, left midfielder, and primarily a center defensive midfielder, Matuidi proved to both Juventus and the French National team he’s a vital asset to any cup winning side. At the world cup in 2018, Didier Deschamps used Matuidi on the left side of the field the entire tournament. He played in five of the seven tournament games, started in four which included the final, that of which they won.
His qualities are more focused on winning the ball in the midfield Diego Alonso will likely use him in this way. Alonso’s formations vary between a 4-2-3-1 and a 3-4-3. Both would cater to a player like Matuidi as he’s capable of being a ball winner, but also connecting play between the center backs and any attacking players. The French National team did use a 4-2-3-1 in which Matuidi played a left mid role, but with players like N’golo Kante and Paul Pogba, the midfield being locked down wasn’t in much trouble. Victor Ulloa and Wil Trapp were not of much help at any point in the Orlando tournament for Miami’s midfield, and oftentimes Rodolfo Pizarro was having to trackback. To relieve Pizarro of these duties is exactly what Matuidi will likely do. With Pizarro getting to focus more on creating while relying on Matuidi midfield to win the ball, hopefully, more chances are created.
Before the tournament, Inter Miami also announced the signing of Leandro Gonzalez Pirez from Club Tijuana of Mexico. Another major issue with Miami’s tournament games had been individual mistakes and “shakiness” at the back.
Pirez has a tremendous MLS resume at just 28 years old. Before leaving for Tijuana, he was named an MLS All-Star for the first time in 2019. Pirez also won the MLS Cup with Atlanta in 2018, one of the best teams the league has ever seen and was fourth in voting for MLS Defender of the year in 2017 and 2018. Pirez was the anchor for Atlanta United’s over the three years he was with them, having started every game he appeared in, even all 5 playoff matches that led them to MLS glory.
Miami’s defense, which is led by Nicolas Figal at the moment, hasn’t been too promising. Alonso has switched between both a three-back and four-back formation, but both have led to massive slip-ups. Bringing in Pirez will give Alonso solid starting quality which the team desperately needs. Looking at three in the back with Pirez included, he’d likely see himself playing alongside Figal and Andre Reyes. Figal is an aggressor and enforcer who likes to get up the pitch at times, and a player like Pirez would be able to allow this to happen as he is so solid defensively. The wing-backs have also struggled massively in this formation, mostly on the left side. Pirez like Figal is also a dominant physical presence that may have opposing sides struggle with their attacking play.
Matuidi and Pirez are set to make instant improvements to the Miami side. We will likely see Pirez hit the field first as Matuidi is not set for an appearance for a couple of weeks.
Look for tomorrow’s piece on the potential return of our striker Robbie Robinson.