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Inter Miami CF

Three Takeaways From Inter Miami’s Insane Draw vs FC Cincinnati

Fort Lauderdale, FL –  Inter Miami can’t capitalize on a Gonzalo Higuain hattrick as they drop two points in a 4-4 draw against FC Cincinnati. Offensively, the Herons looked great in what was perhaps their best-attacking game all season.

Defensively, on the other hand, was not ideal. What was normally a stringent defense gave up too many goals for comfort.

In the post-match conference, Phil Neville even mentioned as much:

With only a handful of games left in the season, dropping points at home isn’t good for Miami’s playoff hopes. With that, here are three takeaways from Miami’s draw vs FC Cincinnati.

Invest In Defense This Winter

Inter Miami has done a great job at revamping their roster.

Acquiring players such as DeAndre Yedlin, Robert Taylor, Leonardo Campana, etc, has given the club new blood in what was a stagnant 2021 roster. Nevertheless, there’s still room for improvement.

Christopher McVey has been IMCF’s iron man. The 25-year-old has played every minute of the team’s 2022 MLS campaign. He’s been solid, but, he’s been asked to do a lot positionally. Looking at Miami’s match against NYCFC, it’s clear that McVey looks the most comfortable playing as a center-back.

Throughout the season, mainly due to injuries to Kieran Gibbs, the Swede has been pushed out wide to left back. Last night’s game vs Cincinnati showed that there are some weaknesses there.

While McVey has done a serviceable job at that position, it may be time to invest in a lockdown starter this coming winter.

MLS has a myriad of capable left backs that could fit into the current role McVey occupies. Miami could trade within the league for a starter, then slide McVey back over to his preferred position to partner next to Damion Lowe. Of course, this would all happen heading into 2023, but it’s something to ponder as the 2022 season comes to a close.

‘Coco’ Makes His Debut

After a month of waiting in a hotel room in France waiting for his visa, Corentin ‘Coco’ Jean finally made his Inter Miami debut. The Frenchman came on in the 80th minute to much fanfare. Although he only had 9 touches, Jean got the game-tying assist on McVey’s wondergoal:

Higuain In-Form

Is Gonzalo Higuain back to his 2021 best? It appears so! The 34-year-old has scored five goals in his last four matches displacing his ‘replacement’ Leonardo Campana in the starting eleven.

His performance against FC Cincinnati was historic.

Higuain is the first player in Inter Miami history to score a first-half hattrick. The 34-year-old’s budding chemistry with fellow Designated Player Alejandro Pozuelo looks promising and electric, filling the creative void left by Federico Higuain’s retirement at the end of 2021.

Pipita’ looked lively, relaxed, and stepped up when IMCF needed him the most.

Though he’s rediscovered his form, it must be said Higuain’s contract runs out at the end of the season. The club does hold an option to extend, but, given his hot and cold streak this year, would it be wise to return the former Argentina international? Or should the South Florida club continue their rebuild without him, bringing in fresher, younger players that fit their current direction?

MLS is a league where it’s advantageous to have youth in and within your squads. All of the league’s leading goal scorers are under the age of 30 and four of the top five are 25 and younger.

It remains to be seen what Chris Henderson will do, but these last 12 games of the season could be a decent indicator of what happens in 2023.

Inter Miami CF

Three Takeaways From Inter Miami’s Loss VS NYCFC

The Bronx, New York – The injury bug has hit Inter Miami as they lose 2-0 to a well-drilled New York City FC side.

What was Taty Castellanos’ last game in NYC blue, Miami attempted to spoil the party to keep themselves in the playoff hunt; unfortunately, without the services of Leonardo Campana, Damion Lowe, Bryce Duke, and Ariel Lassiter, the Herons were largely flightless against one of the best attacks in the league.

This loss wasn’t necessarily a death blow- but, with only 13 games left in the season, Miami’s chances to rack up valuable points continue to slip.

Here are three takeaways from IMCF’s loss against NYCFC.

McVey Is A Center back

Christopher McVey is Inter Miami’s utility man. The Swedish-American has played every minute of Miami’s 2022 campaign. Against NYCFC, he was deployed in a slightly different role. With Damion Lowe out due to yellow card accumulation, the 25-year-old slotted in as the right-sided center-back.

For the most part, he did quite well.

McVey completed 94% of his passes, 50% of his long balls, and ended the game with 10 recoveries and four interceptions.

He was alert and tactically aware of most of the danger on the field. For example, on what would’ve been Castellanos’ farewell goal, McVey smartly stepped up at the last second to spring an offside trap:

All in all, despite the loss, McVey put on a good showing.

Question is, will he continue in the same position once Lowe returns? Or will he line up at left back once it’s all said and done?

High Press or No?

If there’s anything to take away from this game, it’s that Miami should think about implementing a high press. Inter Miami is at bottom of the league when it comes to possession won in the opponent’s final third:

In MLS where the technical level isn’t as sharp compared to other leagues, high pressing can be a valuable asset. Under Phil Neville, the Herons have largely been a team that sits back in a midblock, keeps their shape, and tries to cut off passing lanes.

Against NYCFC, Miami’s lack of team pressing led to opportunities for the Pigeons to take their time and pick a pass. Take this instance in the clip below. Instead of pushing up and pressing the ball carrier, Miami’s defensive lines – inexplicably – stand there ball watching.

That allows NYCFC to move the ball without any pressure and eventually manage to get a cross and touches inside IMCF’s 18-yard-box:

Luckily, there wasn’t a goal scored, but on any given Saturday against a sharper team, these actions would’ve been punished.

Miami has gotten good results by playing in a midblock. However, if they want to make the playoffs – comfortably, they’re going to need to start taking some risks.

Maybe it starts with a defensive change?

Too Slow To Switch Tactics?

As Robert Taylor and Indiana Vassilev struggled to get going, could Neville have swapped their positions?

With NYCFC’s field being small and narrow, instead of playing long balls over the top, perhaps the two wingers could’ve tried swapping flanks so they can cut inside with their dominant foot.

Both Kieran Gibbs and DeAndre Yedlin were keen and willing to make overlapping runs. Having Taylor and Vassilev cut inside would’ve not only given the fullbacks much more space but also provide them the opportunity to combine with the midfield as well.

Had this switch happened, Miami could’ve gotten more numbers through the middle with outlets on the flanks via the fullbacks, almost like a front attacking five:

To conclude, Miami needs to take some risks if they want to make the playoffs. Playing it safe with a handful of games to go won’t be good enough. This weekend, they have a massive game against Eastern Conference rivals FC Cincinnati. Anything less than three points will be bad news for the Herons.

As the season begins to wind down, it’s officially do-or-die time for the boys in black and pink.

Inter Miami CF

How Will Inter Miami Line Up With Alejandro Pozuelo?

Inter Miami has made some noise in the summer transfer window.

According to various reports, 30-year-old attacking midfielder Alejandro Pozuelo will be heading to South Florida in a trade from Toronto FC for $150,000 in allocation money.

What comes as a massive addition to the squad at a critical moment in the playoff race, Inter Miami will have an MVP-caliber player at their disposal. Not only does Pozuelo bring MLS experience, but he also is the progressive passer that Miami’s midfield has been searching for since the club’s inception.

With a potential midfield partnership alongside Jean Mota and Gregore, suddenly, Miami’s playoff hopes are looking a little more likely.

Let’s see how the Herons will line up with the Spaniard.

How Will He Fit In?

Phil Neville lines up Inter Miami in a traditional 4-3-3. While this system normally doesn’t require an out and out number ’10,’ with Inter Miami, at least one central midfielder pushes up into the forward line to work in the half spaces:

Bryce Duke has been the go-to player for Neville in this position. The 21-year-old has steadily shown his quality and playmaking ability as Miami’s main creative presence through the middle.

When Pozuelo dons the pink and black, he will – presumably, take the place of Duke in the midfield three. Playing just in front of the more defensive duo of Mota and Gregore, the Spaniard will have the freedom to roam and combine with the front three of Miami’s attacking trident.

According to FBref, Pozuelo is in the 94th percentile of progressive passes per 90 with 7.05 and also in the 95th percentile of passes into the final third with 5.38.

With players like Ariel Lassiter, Robert Taylor, Indiana Vassilev, and Emerson Rodriguez on the wings, Pozuelo’s slick passing and ball retention will be key to Miami’s offensively expansive, yet defensively disciplined style.

Being able to hit players running the channels on the touchline with his vision and ball skills, will give the South Florida club even more potency on counters:

This season, Miami has oftentimes relinquished the ball in favor of defensive compactness. Though Neville has spoken about wanting to keep more possession, they haven’t quite found a way to be able to do that consistently.

Pozuelo is adept at controlling the rhythm of the game and will look to retain possession instead of forcing a pass or shot that may not be on:
Inter Miami has scored the third least goals in all of MLS. For a team looking to kick that habit, there couldn’t have been a better player to bring into the club than Alejandro Pozuelo. He’s a no-risk, high-reward signing, and gives Miami some much-needed offensive firepower as they sit on the playoff bubble.

Bravo, Chris Henderson.

Inter Miami CF: The Problem With Passivity

Inter Miami is going through a rough patch, to say the least.

Despite an encouraging result against the Chicago Fire in their home opener, Phil Neville’s men have struggled to look competitive through their first four games.  Miami’s latest loss to FC Cincinnati was another example of how, at times, tactically poor the South Florida club has looked this season.

What’s going wrong? Can it be fixed? 

Let’s dissect.

Lack Of Consistent Creation

The biggest issue facing Inter Miami on the field as of today is the lack of a consistent creator. Though Gonzalo Higuain has put it on himself to be the main distributor for the Herons, the team’s tactical shape and lack of real penetration in the final third has caused the attack to sputter.

Let’s take a look at some numbers:

In Miami’s last match, they had 26 progressive carries while Cincinnati had 37. A progressive carry is any movement that moves that ball at least five yards towards an opponent’s goal, or any carry into the opposition penalty area.

When a team can’t progress the ball well, they won’t create chances in the attacking third. 

Due to this, Miami’s SCA (shot-creating action) number against Cincinnati was poor. The Herons had 19 SCA to Cincinnati’s 30.

The Heron’s inability to progress the ball out of the back has hindered them.

Their heatmap against Cincinnati gives us an even clearer picture. The majority of Miami’s touches were on the right side of the defensive third:

The pass maps from the game also show that the bulk of Miami’s passes were towards DeAndre Yedlin, Damion Lowe, and Chris McVey who are all defenders – not ideal:

If Miami wants to dig themselves out of this hole, they need to start progressing the ball up the field quicker and be a bit braver in their passing.

Defensive Passivity

Not only is Miami struggling on the offensive side, but defensively, they don’t fair much better either. This could be due to the lack of high press.

MLS is a high-intensity league where high pressing is valuable. In Miami’s case, they are happy to sit back in a midblock and keep their shape. They’ll often let the opposition have the ball until they threaten in the final third:

However, this strategy hasn’t been working too well. Miami’s passivity in defense has seen them concede 10 goals in four games.

Passing Patterns and Situational Awareness

Lastly, though it may seem trivial to some, the importance of working on progressive passing patterns and being situationally aware is important.

Based on their last four games, Inter Miami looks like they struggle with this. 

Oftentimes, whoever has the ball will outstretch their arms, shrug their shoulders, and ask a teammate to come closer to them so they don’t lose possession.

On the flip side, like in the video below, a player will wave their hands frantically asking for the ball to be passed to them only to be ignored or unchecked:

Take this instance from Miami’s loss to Austin FC. Christopher McVey gets impatient and forces the ball into a heavy traffic area:

When he does this, Austin’s attackers pounce and punish Miami’s slack passing.

This could’ve been prevented had the Herons slowed the game down, gotten Gregore to drop in between the two center backs, and build out from there. Or McVey could’ve passed to ball over to his center-back partner Jairo Quinteros.

Four games in and these issues pop up repeatedly. The failure to find the open man has cost them and opposing teams take advantage of that. 

The same instance happened against Cincinnati as well, but this time on the offensive side. 

Robbie Robinson plays a good ball into Gregore who does well to get a shot off, but, had he picked up his head, seen Ariel Lassiter lurking in the penalty box, and tried to squeeze through a pass, perhaps Miami would’ve tested the keeper a tad more:

Situational awareness, defensive passivity, lack of progressive ball movement, and the inability to create consistent chances see Inter Miami lingering at the bottom of the Eastern Conference. 

What’s Next?

If Miami want to bounce back, unfortunately, their upcoming fixtures don’t look promising:

This is crunch time for Inter Miami and Neville.

At the beginning of the season, Chris Henderson stated that despite the sanctions the team wants to remain competitive.  Though it’s early days, Miami is struggling to do so. 

Of course, they can always turn it around.

MLS is a league where teams can start slow and still make the playoffs later, but, the South Florida club currently looks far off the pace.

With their upcoming home match against the Houston Dynamo, the Herons will have a solid opportunity to kick start their season into gear.

Will they be able to bounce back?

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.

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.

Breaking Down Inter Miami’s Pre-Season Scrimmage vs Universitario

Inter Miami has hit the hard reset button.

After an off-season reboot that saw sixteen players leave and eleven (and counting) be brought in, the South Florida club was back in action as they took on Peruvian club Universitario.

Though the roster is not complete, nor are they regular season fit, Phil Neville’s men put on a show in Fort Lauderdale putting four goals past the “U’s” defense. 

The scoring got started in the 19th minute with an own goal by Universitario’s Nelson Cabanillas.

Miami continued to put on the pressure and added to their lead with a fantastic goal by Homegrown defender Ian Fray. Miami ran away with the match by the second half as they added two more goals from wingback Harvey Neville and defender Ethan Hardin.

With their first ‘tune-up’ match out of the way, let’s break down what Inter Miami could tactically look like when the season starts:

New Look Miami

Neville lined Miami up in a 5-2-3, a formation he often used in 2021. However, this iteration of the “back five” looked quite different.

It was less of a flat back five and more a 3-4-3. The wingbacks pushed high and wide and acted as an outlet when Miami wanted to hit Universitario on the counter:

Most of the offensive build-up came through the center backs. McVey specifically, was very active on Miami’s left-hand side. His passing was crisp, solid, and he had several line-breaking through balls that kept Miami’s attack flowing freely.

Both of the centrebacks that flanked Aime Mabika had the freedom to roam forward and help in attack – take Fray’s goal for example:

Moving on to the midfield, Jean Mota did not disappoint.

The 28-year-old midfielder showed why Inter Miami’s Sporting Director Chris Henderson values him so highly.

The central midfielder looked lively.

He wasn’t afraid to throw himself into tackles and showed that he had a good passing range. Once his fellow Brazilian Gregore makes a return to full fitness, the duo will make an extremely formidable midfield pairing.

Looking at the attacking front trio of Robbie Robinson, Gonzalo Higuain, and Ariel Lassiter, not much has tactically changed since last year.

Wingers are told to get in behind the defense and try to go direct as possible while Higuain drops deep (but not too deep) to add creativity in the midfield.

Neville did say in his post-match conference that they have been “working on several formations.” While the back three is something they used during the friendly, Miami will more than likely use a myriad of tactical setups throughout the season:

Some of the standout players in the match were: Jean Mota, Ian Fray, Christopher McVey, and Edison Azcona.

If this friendly is anything to go by, Inter Miami fans have plenty to get excited about as they head into the 2022 season.

Wha’s Next?

Inter Miami will continue their season preparation this Saturday, January 29th as they take on DC United in a closed-door scrimmage.

Five Reasons to be Excited about Inter Miami (4/5)

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

  1. New Signings (August 17)
  2. Return of Robbie (August 18)
  3. Playing with More Experience (August 19)
  4. Potential Acquisitions (August 20)
  5. First Home Game (August 21)

Matchday will feature a pre and post-game piece as well.

Potential Signings

With the MLS Transfer Window open, Inter Miami has already made the biggest splash in the league. Blaise Matuidi is taking his talents to South Beach. The signing of Leandro Gonzalez Pirez before the MLS is Back Tournament is also going to be impactful in the restart. Fans still question if both these guys will fix all of the club’s problems.

Miami needs help in most areas of the field. If LGP and Matuidi cover the backline and the midfield, what does the club do about goalscoring? Daniel Sturridge, Roger Martinez, Edinson Cavani, are all a couple of names that have been in the mix for a while.

A Number 9

The Roger Martinez rumors were true, however, the clubs never reached an agreement in the pre-season. The Colombian international is a name that should still be considered. He’s a young, talented, prolific striker that may be able to create scoring chances for Miami in the final third.

Daniel Sturridge’s name was thrown around after he had contract issues in Turkey. Shortly around the time of Miami’s first game in Los Angeles, Sturridge seemed to be an intriguing acquisitio.n. As a player whos had major roles at major clubs, MLS would not be much of an issue for him. As he gets older though, the club has t question if it’s worth wasting a Designated Player spot on him, compared to other top tier strikers available.

Recently, Edinson Cavani’s name has been thrown around all over the world. Due to the rise of Kylian Mbappe and the signing of Mauro Icardi at PSG, Cavani has no place in Paris. Reports have come out that he has reached an agreement with Portuguese club Benfica. As a free agent, Inter Miami would be able to bring Cavani in for free, and on a short term deal as a DP, its hard not to say, “why not?” Cavani became a top tier striker in his seven years at PSG, and a move to MLS or Liga Nos would benefit him as he gets into the latter part of his career.

Best fit?

Miami needs a number 9. Miami also needs a wing-back as well as another midfielder to pair with Matuidi.

Roger Martinez would be a great get if the club can put him under the salary cap. This would leave room for Miami to leave the DP slot open for a world-class midfielder.

Arturo Vidal is likely on the move after the demise of FC Barcelona. As the club looks to move on from some older players, Vidal would be the ideal pairing for MAtuidi in a 4-2-3-1 formation.

Another older player like Vidal who could be on the move is Antonio Valencia. The Ecuadorian spent most of his career with Machester United. As he became older, he lost his role at the English club and has since moved to a club in Quito, Ecuador. His veteran presence could prove to be impactful as Miami looks to develop rookie Dylan Nealis.

Missed Out

Before Inter Miami signed even half their roster, David Silva was meant to be headed to Miami this summer. The talks ended up being far off, and now Miami has officially lost the Manchester City maestro to Spanish club Real Sociedad. After the early talks, it was hardly mentioned again as he was still an impactful player for City. Silva still has the talent to offer good service to any European club.

Miami take the field this Saturday and no signing looks to be coming before then.

Make sure to look for tomorrow’s piece talking about the club’s debut at the new and improved Lockhart Stadium!




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.