Inter Miami CF

Three Standout Players From Inter Miami’s Carolina Challenge Cup Run

New kit, new players, new season; Inter Miami has started all over.

If their win at the Carolina Challenge Cup is anything to go by, expect to see significant improvements from the South Florida side this year. 

Offloading a whopping 16+ players in the off-season, Miami’s Sporting Director Chris Henderson had his work cut out for him looking to find suitable replacements that fit Phil Neville’s vision. 

At the Carolina Challenge Cup, most of those players Henderson brought in were on display.

Let’s take a look at the three who stood out the most.

Jean Mota

Described by Henderson as a “Designated Player without actually being a Designated Player,” Jean Mota has proved to be an important piece for Inter Miami.

During the tournament, Mota demonstrated that he can be the glue that links Miami’s defense and attack. The Brazilian is a crafty player and the perfect complement to a more ‘defensive-minded’ midfielder like Gregore.

Mota’s box-to-box tendencies and attacking flair give Miami a different dynamic at a spot they’ve struggled with since the club’s inception.

For example, take a look at Miami’s second goal vs Charlotte FC. 

Mota’s vision and ability to switch the play at the right moment gave left-wingback Noah Allen a perfect entry pass which then led to a cutback that Gonzalo Higuain finished off:

As the season kicks off, Mota will without a doubt be one of Miami’s most important players in 2022.

Noah Allen

Though not necessarily a ‘new’ player, Noah Allen has been on Inter Miami’s first-team radar for a while. The 17-year-old seriously impressed during Miami’s cup run and has garnered strong praises from the coaching staff:

Despite his young age, Allen displayed that he has the talent, composure, and tools to play against MLS opponents.

He held his own against a very tough Columbus Crew side, played well versus the Charleston Battery, and provided an assist during Miami’s win against Charlotte FC.

With the MLS Roster Compliance deadline coming up on Friday, February 25th, fingers are crossed that Allen makes the cut. 

Ariel Lassiter

Ariel Lassiter’s arrival in South Florida was met with mixed reviews. However, the Costa-Rican has shown how important he will be to the team. 

Lassiter provides the pace and verticality that Miami has been desperately missing.

The 27-year-old showed his versatility as Neville deployed him in two different positions during Miami’s time in Charleston. Whether it be as a center forward or a winger, expect Lassiter to give Miami’s attack some real speed and pace on the counter.

Special Mentions

DeAndre Yedlin: Yedlin’s acquisition has proved vital. The 28-year-old has slotted in perfectly at right wing-back. His speed, work rate has been an upgrade over previous right-backs Miami has had in the past. He will be another key player in Neville’s system.

Gonzalo Higuain: Another year older, but that doesn’t mean he’s lost his touch. The 3-5-2 formation suits the 34-year-old’s skill set. He’s able to drop deep to play as a more creative center forward, while players like Ariel Lassiter, Robbie Robinson, or Leonardo Campana get in behind. 

Leonardo Campana: Standing at 6’3”, Leonardo Campana got off to a slow start at the Carolina Challenge Cup, but he made amends. Although he’s still working his way to full fitness, the Ecuador international was able to get his first goal in Inter Miami colors:

His size, soft first touch, and tactical intelligence will give Miami a nice complimentary striker option to Gonzalo Higuain.

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