Inter Miami CF

Three Takeaways From Inter Miami’s Draw Against The Columbus Crew

Inter Miami kicked off their Carolina Challenge Cup campaign with a 1-1 draw over the Columbus Crew.

The game wasn’t the prettiest, nor did the Herons play “free-flowing soccer” but in comparison to where they were this time last season, the difference is night and day.

Here are three takeaways from the match:

Defensively Compact

Heading into 2022, Miami wanted to mend the wrongs of their relatively slow 2021 backline.

Last season, the teams biggest weakest was a lack of cohesion in defense. With all the offseason acquisitions Miami has added over the last few months, there is now a clear vision of how the coaching staff wants them to defend.

The starting back three of Christopher McVey, Ian Fray, and Damion Lowe impressed. The trio was quick, on the same page, and was alert to every attack the Crew had for Miami. The three had the ability to calmly dribble/clear the ball out of nervy situations and were also very tidy with their passing.

For example, Miami’s first goal came thanks to a passing chain that was started by McVey in midfield:

However, that all changed late in the second half.

As soon as Phil Neville took out the starters, the lack of togetherness and experience started to show.

The Crew, through Derrick Etienne, started to pressure Miami’s right-hand side that eventually saw the men in yellow equalize in the 86th minute of play.

But, while Miami didn’t get the win, they certainly look far more competent at the back than they’ve ever been.

The Higuian to Lassiter Connection

Offensively, the game wasn’t the most aesthetically pleasing.

Of course, most pundits and fans would like to see Miami play a more “beautiful brand of futbol” but looking at the current roster makeup, the days of wanting the Herons to carve up every MLS side like they’re 2009 Barcelona are dead on arrival.

Sometimes, it’s okay to play direct.

That ‘directness’ this season may very well come from the budding partnership of Ariel Lassiter and Gonzalo Higuain.

Though the Costa-Rican didn’t start, his influence off the bench was unmatched. Not only did his pressing disrupt Columbus playing out of the back, but his pace and ability to get in behind also gave Miami the lead in the 59th minute.

After the game, Lassiter spoke about his developing chemistry with Higuain:

Look for Miami to continue to exploit their partnership come February 26th.

Back Three Is Here To Stay…For Now

In all of Miami’s preseason games, they have lined up in either a 3-4-3 or 3-5-2.

Though Neville has spoken about using multiple formations, it appears that the South Florida club will stick with three at the back.

The way the roster is constructed, it’s hard to see Miami playing any other formation but a back three, especially with the number of central defenders on the roster:

Naturally, things are subject to change as the season continues, but – for now, it looks like three at the back is here to stay.

Quick Shoutout to…

Noah Allen!

The 17-year-old was one of Miami’s better players vs the Crew. His performance didn’t go unnoticed. He played well and held his own against a tough MLS opponent:

Allen was one of the brighter spots during the match. Should he continue his good form, it’ll only be a matter of time before he gets signed to the first team.

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