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Inter Miami CF

Player Ratings: Inter Miami vs the Seattle Sounders

Inter Miami picked up their second win of the season with a well-earned victory against a rotated Seattle Sounders side.

Robbie Robinson got his first goal of the year as he led a Gonzalo Higuain-less Miami to a 1-0 win.

Though Seattle started the game without several of their starters, Miami took advantage of that and exploited the Sounder’s lack of pace on the flanks.

Both Robinson and Ariel Lassiter used their speed and strength to run at and stretch Seattle’s backline.

Eventually, the dam broke.

In the 41st minute, DeAndre Yedlin played in a gorgeous cross that was finished off by Robinson:

Robinson may have gotten on the scoresheet, but the real stars on the night came in defense.

When the Sounders made a last-ditch effort to get the equalizer, Damion Lowe and Aime Mabika stood tall (literally) and stymied any attack that was thrown at Miami’s backline.

All in all, it was a very good night for the Herons. Here are the player ratings from Inter Miami’s win against Seattle.

*Anything under a six is below average/poor. A six is average and or good. A seven through ten is great and or excellent.*


Nick Marsman – 7.2: Was integral in keeping the clean sheet for Miami. Had several good stops, in the end, to keep Seattle at bay.


Chris McVey – 7: Had a solid shift at left-back though he’s right-footed. Ended the game with four clearances, three interceptions, and five recoveries.

Aime Mabika – 8: Arguably his best game in Inter Miami colors. His ability to read the game and height made it a nightmare for Seattle’s attack. He also ended the game with an 85% pass completion percentage.

Damion Lowe 8: Also had a very good game. Alongside Mabika, Lowe made it difficult for Seattle to get a tying goal. He was strong and put his body on the line for the team.

DeAndre Yedlin – 8.5: Got the game-winning assist on his return home. Defended well and got Miami’s defense out of troublesome situations with his recovery speed.


Jean Mota – 7.2: Put in a good shift. Played the box-to-box role well as shown by his six recoveries. Was energetic on both sides of the ball. Ended the game with two key passes.

Gregore – 6.8: Played better in this match, but he did lose the ball under pressure in dangerous parts of the field. Also picked up a yellow that will see him suspended against Atlanta United. Finished the match winning nine of his duels.

Robert Taylor – 6: Looked sluggish in this game. Got into decent positions but tended to hold on to the ball too long. His subpar shift saw him pulled in the 64th minute for Bryce Duke.


Robbie Robinson – 9: Got the game-winning goal, and was active in the buildup to the goal as well. Selfless in defense and played a full 90 minutes which is a welcomed sight to see.

Leonardo Campana – 8: His hold-up play was spot on all night. Was good with his feet and led the line well.

Ariel Lassiter – 7.5: Was lively on the right-hand side. Used his speed to stretch Seattle’s backline. His movement in the buildup to Miami’s first goal allowed Yedlin to run into space and get the cross off.


Bryce Duke – 7: His snappy tackling and tireless legs were key in the last 25 minutes of the match when Seattle was pushing for a goal.

Noah Allen – 6: Did well to clear any danger. Didn’t get to attack much, but he did just enough to prevent the Sounders from scoring.

Mo Adams – (n/a): Picked up a yellow card and only had four touches.


Phil Neville – 6.5: Got the formation and personnel correct. Put in the right players to play his counterattacking style. The switch to the back three when Seattle was threatening on the wings was the right move. Defensively the team was well drilled but should’ve had more attacking chances.

Player Ratings: Inter Miami vs the Houston Dynamo

A nearly three-hour rain delay couldn’t stop the inevitable.

Inter Miami suffered their fourth straight loss of the season as they fell to the Houston Dynamo 3-1. Though Phil Neville made a formation switch to a 4-3-3, that wasn’t enough to overcome a potent Dynamo attack.

Led by Fafa Picault, Houston took advantage of an emotionally fragile Miami to carve through the midfield and capitalize on the Heron’s defensive mistakes.

As Miami continues to go winless, it’s natural that alarm bells start to ring. With the rest of their schedule increasing in difficulty, there’s the potential that the team could go winless in April.

Before that happens, let’s take a look back at Saturday’s game. Here are the player ratings from Inter Miami’s loss against Houston.

*Anything under a six is below average/poor. A six is average and or good. A seven through ten is great and or excellent.*


Nick Marsman – 5.9: Though Dutchman looked sharp in his Inter Miami return, he gave away a foul that led to a Houston penalty. Before that, he had several good saves that kept Miami in the game. Had the Herons put away a couple of offensive chances, he wouldn’t have been put under so much pressure.


Noah Allen – 6.0: The 17-year-old had a decent outing against Houston. He tried his best to make something happen on Miami’s left-hand side, but none of the attackers could capitalize on their chances. He also held his own against a physically demanding opponent.

Damion Lowe – 5.5: Had a strong passing game which saw him end the match completing 88% of his passes. Unfortunately, failure to hear Marsman claim a high ball at the back saw Miami give up a penalty.

Chris McVey – 6.0:  Shaky at times, but grew into the match. Completed 91% of his passes and ended the game with four recoveries and two clearances.

DeAndre Yedlin – 6.0:  Was quite lively down Miami’s right side where he combined well with Ariel Lassiter.


Jean Mota – 6.6: Had more attacking freedom in this game compared to previous ones. Alongside two other central midfielders, Mota had the space to drive up the pitch to create and or have a shot on goal. Finished the game with four key passes and five shots.

Gregore – 6.4: Did well in the first half as the single pivot. He screened the backline while putting out fires and was decent as a holding midfielder in the 4-3-3 setup. Ended the game with seven recoveries and three interceptions.

Robert Taylor – 7.1: Defensively sound for an attack-minded player. Won a penalty and had the best chance of the game.


Robbie Robinson – 7.0: The only Inter Miami player besides Taylor that looked like scoring. Ended the game with three key passes and five shots.

Gonzalo Higuain – 6.5: Combined well with Robert Taylor in the 40th minute that nearly ended in a goal. Scored the only goal in the match, but once again was outshot by his teammates.

Ariel Lassiter – 6.3: Was a nuisance on the right side with his speed, but just could finish his chances. Combined well with Yedlin and ended the game with four key passes.


Leonardo Campana – (n/a): Didn’t do much in his 10-minute cameo. Only had nine touches.

Mo Adams – (n/a): Like Campana, didn’t have too much to do when he came on. Had a couple of nice interceptions, but nothing more than that.

Emerson Rodriguez – (n/a): Desperately wanted to make something happen. Had 12 touches and a successful dribble. Perhaps if Neville put him on earlier in the match, Miami could’ve salvaged a point.


Phil Neville – 5: Got the formation correct, but waited too long to get the substitutions on the field.  Defensive lapses in concentration and inability to finish in the final third have been reoccurring mistakes during Neville’s reign. Miami has only scored three goals in five matches, with only one of them coming from open play.

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?

Four Observations From Inter Miami’s Loss To LAFC

Inter Miami suffered their second loss of the season with a 2-0 defeat to LAFC.

Though the Herons played better than they did against last week’s opponents Austin FC, the South Florida club still couldn’t manage to get a win.

Much like the weather that day, it’s starting to get a bit ugly in Fort Lauderdale.

Here are four observations from Inter Miami’s loss to LAFC.

Higuain The Playmaker?

Where does Gonzalo Higuain fit into this team?

Going into 2022, there was talk (mainly from media and fans) about the 34-year-old taking on a more creative role on the pitch.

Three games in and it’s not going as planned.

While Higuain’s passing ability is arguably the best on the squad, when he’s not providing dangerous passes into the final third, unfortunately, there appears to be no real upside besides that.

The match against LAFC was a perfect example.

Higuain ended the match with only 25 touches (the second least out of the starting eleven) and zero key passes. When he wasn’t on the ball, oftentimes you could see him walking around, not pressing and when he did have the ball he would get caught in possession and cause a turnover. His poor performance on Saturday saw him substituted out in the 68th minute. 

However, despite all this, Phil Neville has insisted that the 34-year-old “hasn’t changed positions.”

Looking through the statistics, this doesn’t seem true. Through three games this season, Higuain has had more key passes (11) than total shots (2).

It seems as if the Argentine has taken it upon himself to be the main playmaker for the team even though Neville has said this isn’t what he wants him to do:

Inter Miami has a dilemma. 

These comments suggest that there is a tad bit of miscommunication between Neville and Higuain. 

On the pitch, Higuain is playing as a creator when Neville wants him higher up the field. In order to accommodate that in previous games, Miami deployed a 3-5-2 to counteract some of the Argentinian’s weaknesses. But, seeing as though Neville has gone back to a more traditional four at the back, that experiment looks to be over.

Whatever change Neville does next needs to be quick. Miami’s next opponents are FC Cincinnati. Though they had a slow start to the year, Pat Noonan’s men are talented enough to be able to hurt the Herons – especially at home:

Damion Lowe

The return of Damion Lowe can’t be understated. The Jamaican international played a key part in keeping LAFC’s offense at bay. Not only did he play as a “sweeper” effectively tackling every LAFC player in his path, but he was also a calm and steady presence that got the best out of his teammates:

When fit he is, arguably, the first name on the team sheet.

The Endless Cycle of Route One Football

Playing with four of the back may have helped Miami in defense, but offensively, once again the Herons seemed lost.

Looking at the statistics, LAFC had more possession in Miami’s half of the field:

Miami’s passive defensive tactics and lack of inability to play out of the back have been a recurring theme during Neville’s reign.

A majority of Miami’s touches came in their defensive half:

That doesn’t bode well for the offense.

The long ball style that the Herons have been playing is antithetical to possession. Saturday’s passing maps tell an even bigger story:

The disconnect between the attack and midfield is evident.

Miami struggles to play through their middle third. Because of this, they will resort to punting the ball upfield with the hope of a central forward winning the header, only for them to lose possession and start the cycle all over again.

The team doesn’t have a true creative midfielder that could help connect defense to attack. That’s the main reason why Higuain took it upon himself to drop deeper in order to collect the ball, but it’s just not clicking for the Herons.

The match against LAFC was just another case of Inter Miami’s tactical setup going poorly.

Mota and Mo impress

Lastly, the midfield duo of Jean Mota and Mo Adams impressed. 

Adams had his best game in an Inter Miami kit. The Englishman ended the match with the most duels and the most tackles. He also completed 86% of his passes and had seven recoveries. 

Deployed in a right-wing role, Mota was equally as impressive. The 28-year-old had the most key passes in the match (2) and had six recoveries. 


Three Ugly Observations From Inter Miami’s Loss Against Austin FC

Inter Miami’s dire performance against Austin FC is sounding some alarms.

While it’s still very early in the season, and Miami may very well turn it around, there were some concerning trends during Sunday’s loss that, hopefully, won’t continue throughout the year.

With that said, here are three ugly observations from Miami’s loss vs Austin.

Formation Merry-Go-Round 

Football is a peculiar sport, but it is also very simple.

Oftentimes, the need for various formations seems frivolous. In its essence, every formation can be traced back to the standard 4-3-3, including Phil Neville’s preferred back three:

That being said, with Sunday afternoon’s result in Austin the “Inter Miami back three experiment” could very well be over. 

Miami couldn’t get control of the game in the first 20 minutes. They struggled to build out of the back and Austin’s high press stymied any progress they wanted to make through the middle.

With it being an away match, it was Austin’s responsibility to play attacking football. But, as the game went on Miami never gave themselves a chance at getting back in it. By halftime, Miami was down by two and never seemed to have a game plan.

At the start of the second half, Neville switched the Herons to a more conventional 4-4-2. Realistically, the team only looked better in that formation once Austin stopped pressing because they had a multiple-goal lead. 

The Problem with Higuain

This begs the question: why a back three?

In short, Miami needs to find a way to get the best out of their only Designated Player on the field, Gonzalo Higuain. Despite the poor team performance, Higuain had a decent game that saw him get an assist and four key passes.

With the 3-5-2, it disguises a lot of the 34-year-old’s weaknesses. Looking fbref’s advanced stats, Higuain is in the 17th percentile of pressures per 90:

That’s not good. 

This essentially means that Higuain is not going to press the opposition defense that much.

Because Higuain won’t press, Neville has to switch up his tactics in order to accommodate him:

Miami pressed less in the final third in 2021 compared to the 2020 season. Against Austin, that much was evident.

The Herons sat in a midblock 5-3-2 formation, daring Austin to pull them out of their defensive shape. The only press that Miam implemented was when Austin pushed the ball out wide:

In modern football, you need 11 players to defend starting at the front.

Higuain, as stated above, doesn’t do that.

Neville has a dilemma here.

Higuain is without a doubt, one of Miami’s most potent passers. The 34-year-old had 11 key passes in Miami’s first two matches. At the same time, it’s difficult to play a high press style with him starting up top.

How does Miami fix this? Switch to a 4-4-2 or keep the 3-5-2? 

Lowe Was Missed

Naturally, when a defense concedes five goals, fingers will point to the starting center backs. The presence of Damion Lowe was missed. Not only is the Jamaican a vocal leader on the backline, but he also has enough recovery speed and positional awareness to mop up any mistakes.

When fit, Lowe is an automatic starter. Unfortunately, per Neville, the 28-year-old will be out for 10 days, which is a huge blow.

Hopefully, Lowe will be able to make a swift recovery and return to action as quickly as possible.

What’s Next?

It’s a long season, and this result may have hurt, but Miami has the opportunity to bounce back against LAFC at home this weekend.

It’ll be a tough match.

LAFC has some of the best attackers in the league with Carlos Vela, Christian Arango, and Brian Rodriguez, and if Miami’s game against Austin was any indication, LA will be able to slice and dice the Herons open on the counter if they find an opening:

Depending on what formation Miami rolls out in, they must bounce back from the 5-1 drubbing they received on Sunday.

What better time to do that than at home against one of the best team’s in the league? 

Recapping Inter Miami’s 5-1 Loss in Austin

Coming off their first-ever point in a season opener in the club’s history, Inter Miami CF was looking to carry any positive momentum from the Chicago Fire match last Saturday into Austin, Texas, at Q2 Stadium on Sunday. Unfortunately, with injuries at play and an attack that has now scored just once in over 180 minutes, Miami couldn’t come away with any points following a dominant 5-1 performance by Austin FC.

First-half goals from Sebastian Driussi and Julio Cascante set the tone for the game, especially in the first half, where Austin FC controlled the match with over 67% possession. Noah Allen, Miami’s 17-year-old wing-back who made his second consecutive MLS start, was beaten to the byline by MLS Veteran Diego Fagundez on the first goal, who found Driussi beautifully with a pass at the back post. Driussi slotted his shot past Miami’s keeper Clement Diop, who seemed slow to attempt a save. Cascante’s goal, which followed the 22nd-minute goal from Driussi by just four minutes, was an easy header from a set-piece play in which Miami’s defender Brek Shea held him onside.

Going into the second half, Phil Neville decided to make changes to get back into the match. From a back five to a back four, Allen and Mo Adams were replaced by Robert Taylor and Leonardo Campana, who played on the left-wing and as a striker, respectively, in a 4-2-3-1 (or 4-4-2, depending on where Higuain was). Lassiter was switched from a striker to the right-wing, and Shea went from a third center back to a left-back with Jairo Quinteros and Christopher McVey handling the middle.

Offensively, based on a single statistic, and the most important one at that (goal-scoring), the change in formation was positive. Campana, the Ecuadorean International, bagged Inter Miami’s first goal of the season after receiving a pass at the top of the box from Gonzalo Higuain in the 54th minute. Unfortunately for the Heron’s, that wasn’t before Austin FC had scored their third to put this game out of reach.

In the 51st minute, for the third of Austin FC’s five goals in the match, Miami’s two center backs were split wide open, then caught completely too narrow as Austin toyed with the ball in the area and, after an abundance of passes, slotted home a chance with Diop nowhere to be found.

After Campana’s goal, Austin FC went a little on the back foot and was starting to concede a barrage of chances as Miami was looking more and more lively. Robert Taylor, who was working along the left side, was responsible for five of Miami’s eight shots in the second half, netting an xG (expected goals) number of 0.21. That number is 37.5% of Miami’s total xG (0.54).

Another statistic here: Of Miami’s thirteen total shots in the match, only four came inside the 18-yard-box; one of those four was Leonardo Campana’s 54th-minute goal. For Austin FC and their eight total shots (which netted an xG number of 1.34), all but two shots came from inside the box, and of those six, five went in.

Defensively, Miami struggled to stay compact and shut down Austin attacks before they worked their way into the area. The absence of Damion Lowe was truly felt. As a leader and organizer of his stature, and one who is also able to help distribute out of the back, he was missed on Sunday night.

Obviously, by going down two goals, Neville had to instruct Miami to go for goals in the rest of the match. That, along with the switch to play with one less central defender, was a considerable risk that ultimately didn’t pay off, as Austin FC scored three in the second half and threatened most the time as well.

Austin FC’s final two goals were both scored by Ethan Finley (64′, 90′). A header near the six-yard box from an Alex Ring cross and a shot rifled past Diop from a Fagundez pass set him up beautifully in the penalty box. Those two, and probably the first alone, was enough to do Miami in and send them home with nothing to take from the match.

Miami’s next match is at DRV PNK Stadium against a heavy opponent in LAFC, who roster one of MLS’s best, attacker Carlos Vela.

Miami will look to grab at least another point at home next Saturday before going on another away trip to TQL Stadium in Cincinnati.

Inter Miami CF

Three Observations from Inter Miami’s Draw Against The Chicago Fire

Inter Miami kicked off their 2022 season with a 0-0 draw against the Xherdan Shaquri lead Chicago Fire.

Donned in their “Heartbeat” pink kits, Phil Neville’s men came into this game looking to turn a new leaf after their awful 2021 campaign. 

With nine debuts in starting eleven, Saturday night’s match wasn’t pleasing to the eye. But, there were plenty of positives to build upon for the Herons.

2nd Half Resurgence

2022 Inter Miami is, essentially, an expansion club. 

The sheer amount of outgoing and incoming players would make it difficult for any team to play a consistent style of play for ninety minutes.  For Inter Miami, that much was evident in the first half.

The team struggled to play out of the back and looked nervous as Chicago pressed high. At one point, the Fire had 70% of possession while Miami was pinned in their own half of the field.

Leonardo Campana had two good chances during the first 45’ but, the 21-year-old couldn’t get them on target.

In the second half, however, Miami started to look a bit more lively. The substitutions of Ariel Lassiter and Robert Taylor changed the complexion of the match. 

Once those changes were made, the Herons began to attack with pace, drive and managed to put Chicago on their back foot. Lassiter had several excellent chances to give Miami the win, but Chicago’s defense held up.

Equally as impressive, Finland international Taylor impressed in his 24-minute cameo. The 27-year-old showed his quickness, dribbling ability, and knack for finding pockets of space.

Neville mentioned in his post-match conference that last year, Miami would’ve “lost that game.” It’s a testament to the offseason work the Herons have done that they were able to fight till the end.

Need For Speed

There were numerous moments during the game where Miami needed more speed in behind.

In pre-season, Neville’s go-to strike partnership up top would be Campana and Gonzalo Higuain. While at times, the relationship between the duo worked well, neither striker is particularly quick.

Once Campana was subbed off in the 66th minute, the game started to open up a bit more with the inclusion of Lassiter and Taylor.

The 3-5-2 formation can work well when a team has runners in behind. When Lassiter came on, his speed and aptitude for running at defenders gave Higuain the perfect outlet. Taylor, on the other hand, showed that he has the potential to be a real playmaker once he gets up to fitness.

That begs the question: will either Taylor or Lassiter start when Miami takes on Austin FC later this week? 

If the second half of Saturday’s game was any indication, the answer should be: yes. 

Future is Bright

Last but not least, Saturday night’s match marked the first team debut of 17-year-old Noah Allen. Allen held his own against a tricky Chicago Fire team and seemed the least nervous out of anyone on the pitch.

He put in a solid shift and managed to find himself in decent scoring positions. Allen ended the night with two interceptions, four recoveries, and two clearances.

With Neville confirming that Inter Miami will be able to call up MLS Next Pro players for a certain amount of games this season, expect Noah Allen to get meaningful playing time with the first team.

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.