September 5, 2018: The Day “Fútbol Miami” Became Inter Miami CF

Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami Revealed On This Day in 2018.

Miami, Fla. (Thursday, September 5, 2019) – Russo Soccer –

Inter Miami Hoy: Today, we look back at the day a global brand was born.

One year ago today in the early morning hours of September 5, 2018, Miami’s Major League Soccer team, which had until then only been known as “Fútbol Miami,” finally revealed its official name and colours in an elaborate and unique way. After months of polls, debates and suggestions, a brand had been born, one which does Miami proud.

Read more about this historic milestone on how Fútbol Miami became Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami on the Russo Soccer webpage by clicking this link: The Day A Brand Was Born. Nameday.

Tournament offers Carranza opportunity to shine

KISSIMMEE, Fla.  (June 21, 2020) The MLS tournament gets under way tonight with Inter Miami taking on Orlando City for the first time.

One player could be key for Internacional in this tournament. More on this here:

Russo Soccer: Tournament offers Carranza potential to shine

Cover Photo: Inter Miami CF

Signing of Defender González Pirez officially announced

Inter Miami officially announced the Gonzalez Pirez signing on Wednesday.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.  (July 1, 2020) As expected, Inter Miami have added former Atlanta United defender Leandro González-Pirez to the team in order to bolster the roster in the backline. The MLS expansion franchise have acquired Gonzalez Pirez via a full transfer from Club Tijuana — which he joined in January — by use of Internacional’s top spot in the MLS Allocation Order.

The players and coaches left Fort Lauderdale this morning for Orlando, Florida, in advance of the MLS is Back Torunament. González Pirez was in the squad, which departed on two motorcoaches for the trip up the Florida’s Turnpike to the land of Mickey.

Some media members were invited to be on hand for a breakfast that took place prior to the team’s departure. Sporting director Paul McDonough usesd the occasion to confirm the recent reports linking the expansion side with the Argentine centre-back. However, González Pirez will not be available to play for Inter Miami until after the tournament concludes because of MLS rules.

“We were so fast and aggressive with getting Leandro (signed), they just weren’t really ready for it,” said McDonough. “It’s okay. It is what it is. We’re going to go with the team we have to compete, but he’s with us and he can get integrated into the group. We’re happy that he’s with us.”

The allocation order is but one of the many complex rules MLS has created to stock its rosters, given that the league operates as a single entity. González Pirez is currently listed on the MLS Allocation Order list due to the fact that his former team, Atlanta United, secured a transfer when he moved to Club Tijuana. Inter Miami currently held the No. 1 position in the allocation ranking as a result of Los Angeles FC signing Andy Najar earlier. (Once a team signs a player under the allocation ranking rules, that team then moves to the bottom of the order and team behind them moves up.)

González Pirez, 28, previously spent three seasons with Atlanta United. He helped the club win the MLS Cup in 2018 and the U.S. Open Cup last summer. The fee Inter Miami paid to Club Tijuana to acquire was not disclosed per MLS rules. What is known, however, is that famous Buenos Aires side Club Atlético River Plate will receive 5 percent of that fee pursuant to FIFA’s solidarity payments, stemming from River’s involvement in the formation of González-Pirez, who featured on the club’s U-17 and U-20 teams.

The South Florida team will play in the opening game of the Tournament taking place at Disney ESPN Wide World of Sports on the evening of July 8th against Orlando City.

Veteran Brek Shea signs with Inter Miami

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — (June 25, 2020)  Inter Miami has signed Major League Soccer (MLS) free agent veteran defender/midfielder Brek Shea. He’s played over 220 MLS matches and more than 80 games on the international level.

“Brek is a player who we know very well from previous MLS experiences that brings a lot of attacking threat and defensive solidity,” said sporting director Paul McDonough. “He has been training and recovering from an injury, showing he is in his regular form and able to contribute to the First Team.” 

Shea, 30, (full name Dane Brekken Shea) from College Station, Texas, is a former U.S. Men’s National Team player. He is said to possess technical ability, size and a creative attacking ingenuity that is rare in an MLS-based American player. He can provide quality service into the box with both feet, although he’s predominantly left-footed. He also describes himself as versatile: “I have played many positions,” said Shea. “I actually have played almost every single one in my MLS career. A lot of times when I play those positions it’s because someone’s injured or they need help filling in and I can do that.”

His ability to play a spot role, filling in as needed for Ben Sweat on defence or on the left side of midfield is the driving force behind signing him. Whether his knee will hold up is of course not known, but credit to Internacional for giving him a chance.

Shea played for FC Dallas from 2008-12, earning 2011 MLS Best XI and 2011 MLS All-Star honors while appearing in 103 games, where he scored 19 goals. He was transferred to Stoke City of the Premier League in January 2013 for a fee of $3.30m. He made his debut against Fulham on Feb. 23. In Jan. 2014, Stoke elected to loan Shea to English Football League Championship side Barnsley before being loaned once again out to Championship side Birmingham City in September to December of that year. 

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Brek shea during his time in Vancouver | (Photo by Shaun Clark/Getty Images)

He was also selected by McDonough to play at Orlando City for its 2015 MLS inaugural campaign. The defender/midfielder played 46 league matches between the 2015 and 2016 seasons before being traded to the Vancouver Whitecaps FC as a Designated Player in 2017. (Vancouver eventually bought that contract down, freeing up the DP slot Shea had filled.)

In fact, some of Shea’s best MLS moments came with Vancouver. He was a key player during Vancouver’s 2017 CONCACAF Champions League campaign, helping the Whitecaps reach the semi-finals before losing to Tigres of Liga MX. Shea scored a crucial early goal in the second leg of that tie, but injured his knee a few minutes later. He registered 56 appearances over two seasons in Vancouver, before being acquired on a free transfer signed by Atlanta United on December 30, 2018, in advance of the 2019 season. Shea appeared in three matches in Atlanta’s U.S. Open Cup-championship run, as well as 19 regular season games, before suffering a season-ending and very serious right knee injury in a match against Seattle on July 14, 2019. He had surgery and is said to be fully-recovered and ready to play.

His MLS career has had ups and downs, but Shea is looking forward to playing again. “I have a lot of unfinished business,” he posted on his twitter account.

Shea has dual-citizenship with the U.S. and Norway, and is represented by Wasserman, the agency where McDonough once worked. Shea was represented at the time by McDonough so it’s clear that the two have a connection going back several years.

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MLS tweaks qualification for knockout phases of the Disney Tournament

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.  (June 25, 2020) MLS corrected an error in Group A of its upcoming MLS is Back Tournament in order to make it a little more balanced.

The rule change for the upcoming competition, will give Group A three automatic places in the Round of 16. Previously, only the top two finishers in the six-team group would automatically advance while the third-place side would have a shot at moving on only if it was one of the best four third-place finishers in the entire group.

The initial format gave each club in Group A a lower percentage possibility of advancing than teams in the remaining five groups, which are all comprised of only four teams each. With the change, only three other third-place finishers will advance.

The adjustment will be good news for the six teams in Group A, which are Orlando City, Inter Miami, Philadelphia Union, New York City, Chicago Fire, and Nashville.

The competition is scheduled to begin July 8.

Here is the complete format for the Round of 16 of the MLS is Back Tournament:

July 25
A1 vs. Wildcard B/C/D/E
A2 vs. C2

July 26
B1 vs. A3
D1 vs. Wildcard B/C/E/F

July 27
C1 vs. Wildcard A/B/D/F
B2 vs. F2

July 28
E1 vs. D2
F1 vs. E2

Club Tijuana and Inter Miami agree to transfer of defender González Pirez

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.  (June 21, 2020) Inter Miami appears to be bulking up its defence ahead of the resumption of play in MLS.

Inter Miami sporting director Paul McDonough‘s told media last week that the team was planning to bring in some reinforcements.

That player is defender Leandro González Pirez from Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente of Liga MX. Gonzalez Pirez is a former centre-back with Atlanta United.

According to a report from the Athletic, the MLS expansion franchise is set to acquire Gonzalez Pirez via a full transfer from Club Tijuana — which he joined in January — and will use the top spot in the MLS Allocation Order to do so.

The allocation order is but one of the many complex rules MLS has created to stock its rosters, given that the league operates as a single entity. Gonzalez Pirez is currently listed on the MLS Allocation Order list due to the fact that his former team, Atlanta United, secured a transfer when he moved to Club Tijuana. Inter Miami currently holds the No. 1 position in the allocation ranking as a result of Los Angeles FC signing Andy Najar earlier this week.

Inter Miami’s proposed move for the Argentine defender will reportedly be made official prior to the start of the MLS is Back Tournament in July. In order to complete the transfer, a transfer window (the period of time during which players can move from one team to another) has to be open. In that regard, MLS is soon set to open the transfer window, allowing teams to sign players to their rosters.

Gonzalez Pirez, 28, previously spent three seasons with Atlanta United. He helped the club win the MLS Cup in 2018 and the U.S. Open Cup last summer.

McDonough is familiar with González Pirez, whom he signed in Atlanta and said last week that he wanted to sign three “significant” players to the roster. However, he made no mention of a defender, saying instead that he wanted an attacker, a wide player, and a central midfielder. Gonzalez Pirez’s reported arrival would likely affect those plans. Nevertheless, he is a player with significant MLS experience in the back.

The league is set to return to action next month with the MLS is Back Tournament. Inter Miami will play in the competition opener on July 8, facing off against Orlando City in a match pre-ordained by MLS.

Player tests positive for COVID-19

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.  (June 19, 2020) An Inter Miami player tested positive for COVID-19 following a round of mandatory testing this week, the club announced Thursday night. The team declined to tell us the identity of the player.

“Inter Miami’s medical staff is working directly with local infectious disease specialists to treat the player, who was asymptomatic and has been observing isolation protocols since he self-identified being in close contact with an individual who showed mild symptoms during a health screening questionnaire administered daily to players,” the club said in a statement.

Inter Miami began full-squad training last week at its Fort Lauderdale training facility and players were being tested every other day.

Atlanta United also announced on Thursday that one of its “first-team” players tested positive for the coronavirus with no additional staff or players testing positive. The player was asymptomatic and has been observing isolation protocol since the result. FC Dallas is reported to have as many as six players who have tested positive for the virus, while a player from the Philadelphia Union has also tested positive earlier this spring.

The team is scheduled to resume its season on July 8 against Orlando City in the opening match of the league-wide tournament at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports complex in Kissimmee, Florida. All 26 teams are scheduled to be sequestered at the Swan and Dolphin resort. 

The tournament format includes three group games followed by a knockout round, and culminates with a final on Aug. 11. After that, the league is hoping to return to each team’s home markets.

Inter Miami says it “continues to work in close consultation with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, local health authorities and Major League Soccer regarding testing and training guidelines, as well as with adhering to proper physical distancing and sanitation protocols in its facilities during team activities.”

Miami will play Orlando City to open the Disney cup

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (June 13, 2020) — MLS announced that Inter Miami would be placed in Group A of the MLS is Back competition alongside Orlando City. It was also announced that the two teams will kick off the tournament against one another on July 8.

Tournament Format
  • All 26 MLS teams; matches at ESPN Disney Wide World of Sports
  • Group stage followed by knockout rounds
  • Group stage counts toward regular season
  • Winner earns 2021 Concacaf Champions League spot (unless it is a Canadian team)
  • Regular season continues after tournament

The announcement came approximately 90 minutes before the “random” draw for the MLS is Back tournament began.

As previously explained, the 26 MLS teams were divided into six groups, three east from the Eastern and Western Conferences. Orlando, Toronto and Atlanta were seeded teams in the eastern groups, while Seattle, Salt Lake City and Los Angeles FC were the three seeds in the west.

The oddity was that Group A, where Orlando City was seeded, has six teams, although each team will only play three matches and the fourth-place team will be automatically eliminated from the knockout stages no matter its point total.

From there, the rest of the teams in each group were decided by staging a draw. While there was always going to be some natural rivalries expected given the competition format, many have said that the groupings were fixed in advance. The draw’s unconventional format where a number was assigned to each team, combined with the lack of any independent auditor only served to increase the suspicion. The sole piece of logic that came out of it was a geographic ephipany on the part of the league by placing Nashville into the Eastern Conference.

Video of the draw did little to counter the apparent staging.

In the end, the made-for-television event got the match-ups that have the greatest potential to draw fan interest: Miami-Orlando City; New York City-Philadelphia, Los Angeles Galaxy-LAFC, Montreal-New England, Columbus-Cincinnati, Seattle-Vancouver and Salt Lake-Colorado are among the teams that will face each other in the group stage.

The complete groups and brackets can be found here.

But for the sake of transparency, it would have been better for the league’s image to simply announce the groupings along with a statement that the groups were set up to emphasize natural rivalries and maximize interest in the tournament.

What Inter Miami fans need to know about the Orlando tournament

MIAMI, Fla. — (10 June 2020) Today, MLS announced what we already knew: The league will stage a made-for-television tournament to get back to playing games. Despite the fact that the COVID-19 virus is still present in the United States, MLS has decided to return to play. The MLS is Back Tournament is set to take place from July 8-August 11 at the ESPN Disney Wide World of Sports complex. The league has been in suspension since March 12 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Here is a guide to the tournament and what Inter Miami’s participation in it will look like:

What is the format?

The month-long tournament will be similar to a FIFA World Cup. All 26 current MLS clubs will participate in the tournament, with teams being drawn into five groups of four teams each, and one group of six teams. 

The six groups will be separated into three for the Eastern and three for the Western Conference. The live draw will be streamed Thursday, June 11, at 3:30 p.m. ET on MLSsoccer.com and the official MLS Twitter, Facebook and YouTube accounts.

Inter Miami will play a minimum of three group stage matches with a typical point structure: three points for a win, one point for a draw and zero for a loss. The twist is that these group stage matches count toward the MLS regular season table. 

After the group stage, the top two finishers in each group together with the four best third place finishers will advance to the knockout rounds, leaving 16 teams in the competition. In the knockout rounds, matches that end in a draw at the end of regulation will go directly to penalty kicks — no extra time. The following procedure (in order of priority) will be used to determine which third-placed clubs advance from the group stage:

  1. Total number of points
  2. Goal differential
  3. Goals for
  4. Fewest Disciplinary Points

Each team will be allowed five substitutions per match, following the temporary protocol established by The International Football Association Board, and Video Review will be in effect for each match. In addition, teams may name up to 23 players on each official match day roster. As all teams will be centralized in one location, there will be no home or away team designations.

When are the games?

The ‘MLS is Back Tournament’ begins July 8.

The dates for each round of the tournament are as follows:

  • Group stage: July 8 – July 23 
  • Round of 16: July 25 – 28 
  • Quarterfinals: July 30 – August 1
  • Semifinals: August 5 – August 6
  • Final: August 11

In total, the tournament will run for 35 days. Inter Miami’s full schedule is expected to be released in the coming days. 

Where is it?

The tournament will take place at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Bay Lake, Florida. The 220-acre complex sits near the Walt Disney World Resort and features a number of available fields.

How can I watch?

Not in person. The matches will be closed to the public.

Every game of the tournament will be conveniently televised. It is expected that one game will be at 9:00 am and two others will be in the evening at 8 and 10:00 pm ET, to keep the players out of the daytime extreme heat and to allow for the best possible television ratings. Full details on the broadcast schedule and how Inter Miami fans can tune in are expected to be announced in the near future.

What does the winner receive?

As mentioned, the group stage results count towards MLS regular season standings.

The winner of the tournament will also receive an automatic 2021 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League berth. Players will also have opportunities to earn bonuses from a $1.1 million prize pool. 

Et après?

Inter Miami fans can expect a yet-to-be-determined regular season calendar.

The revised plans call for no inter-conference play which cuts down on travel and makes it possible for teams only to compete against teams from their side of the league. The final number of matches and the schedule for the remainder of the 2020 MLS regular season will be announced in the coming weeks. Per prior reports, the goal ideally is to complete the season prior to December 31, 2020.

Will Inter Miami players and staff be safe?

To answer this question, please consult your crystal ball.

Seriously though, MLS says the safety of all involved is of utmost importance. The league has a detailed protocol in an effort to ensure the safety of players and staff.

PCR tests will be administered twice and a Serology test once for each travelling member of the Club prior to departure. PCR tests will also be administered upon arrival (Day 1) followed by full team training. Testing will continue every other day during the first two weeks, and continue regularly once matches begin (including the day before a match), and temperature screening and completion of standardized screening questionnaires will be required for all individuals traveling to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex or providing services at the hotel and convention center where MLS league and club personnel will be staying. A positive response to the daily questionnaire or a temperature check above 100.3 degrees must be reported and the individual in question will be isolated immediately and PCR testing will be performed.

What does this mean for ticket holders?

Right now, there are no plans to have games with fans in attendance in 2020.

Inter Miami says ticket holders for the 2020 season will be contacted directly by their account representative in the coming days.

If there are no games with fans in attendance in 2020, Inter Miami will most likely want to apply monies paid to next season’s ticket packages, although fans have the right to request a refund. Fans should speak with their ticket representative.

League-wide details on the tournament can be found here.