Inter Miami to have small group practices starting today

Inter Miami iniciará entrenamientos voluntarios en grupos reducidos hoy

One step closer to resuming the MMXX season

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — (4 June 2020) Inter Miami was back home today at its “Centro Deportivo” (Training Centre) to begin small group training sessions.

On May 28, MLS announced clubs may begin to use outdoor team training fields for voluntary small group training sessions in compliance with detailed health and safety protocols that were created in consultation with medical and infectious disease experts. These small group training sessions are voluntary and may not be in conflict with local public health officials or government policies. 

The league must also sign off on club plans before enacted, and training sessions remain limited to essential personnel. Inter Miami’s plan was approved by MLS on May 29th.

Here are the guidelines for Inter Miami’s approved plan:  

  • Clubs must utilise outdoor fields as indoor training facilities remain closed to all players with the exception of those requiring medical treatment or rehabilitation, under the direction of the team medical staff, that cannot be performed from the safety of their residences.
  • Clubs may divide each full field into a maximum of two equal halves and may assign a group of players to each full or half field.  
  • Clubs may clearly define up to six zones per half field, spaced at least 10 feet apart. Only one player may be in a zone at any given time in order to maintain physical distancing standards throughout the session. For clarity, a maximum of six players may be assigned to a single group with each player accommodated in a separate zone.
  • During training sessions, players may switch zones within their own group only if another player is not currently in that zone and players must maintain a physical distance of at least 10 feet from all other players and coaches while moving between zones.
  • Within a single group, players may pass the ball and shoot on goal; however, all training exercises must allow players to maintain a physical distance of at least 10 feet from one another. 
  • Players may only train with the other players within their own group and may not interact with other groups. While the groups may not be rearranged during a single training session, clubs may rearrange the combination of players in each group from session to session.
  • Coaches and technical staff must wear a face mask at all times and may direct players from the perimeter of the field, never entering the field, while maintaining at least 10-feet of distance from other staff and players. 
  • Only approved equipment may be used during training sessions including balls; small and regular goals; rubber dots; small discs and cones; rebounders; rings; GPS Pods and personal equipment that is not shared between players. Mannequins, poles, bands, weights and ball machines may not be used.
  • Goalkeepers may not spit on their gloves and must clean, disinfect and sanitize their gloves after each training.

During small group sessions, Inter Miami must continue to abide by the health and safety protocols implemented for the voluntary individual workout sessions.

Inter Miami iniciará entrenamientos voluntarios en grupos reducidos hoy

Un paso más cerca de reanudar la temporada 2020

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — (4 de junio de 2020) Inter Miami CF estaba en casa hoy en su Centro Deportivo en la ciudad de Fort Lauderdale, dónde inició los entrenamientos voluntarios en grupos reducidos. Todos los entrenamientos voluntarios en grupos reducidos son voluntarios y no pueden estar en conflicto con las políticas locales oficiales de salud pública o gubernamentales.

El 28 de mayo, la MLS anunció que los clubes pueden comenzar a usar los campos de entrenamiento de equipos al aire libre para sesiones voluntarias de entrenamiento en grupos pequeños, de conformidad con los protocolos detallados de salud y seguridad que se crearon en consulta con expertos médicos y de enfermedades infecciosas. Estas sesiones de capacitación en grupos pequeños son voluntarias y pueden no estar en conflicto con los funcionarios locales de salud pública o las políticas gubernamentales.

Conforme con estos protocolos de salud y seguridad, las sesiones de entrenamiento estarán limitadas a personal esencial. El plan revisado y aprobado por el cuerpo técnico del Club y presentado a la Major League Soccer (MLS) el viernes, 29 de mayo, ha sido aprobado.

El plan aprobado de Inter Miami cumple con las siguientes pautas: 

  • Los clubes deben utilizar los campos al aire libre, ya que las instalaciones de entrenamiento adentro permanecen cerradas para todos los jugadores, a excepción de aquellos que requieren tratamiento médico o de rehabilitación, bajo la dirección del personal médico del equipo. Estos son solo tratamientos que los jugadores no pueden realizarse desde la seguridad de sus casas.
  • Los clubes pueden dividir cada campo completo en un máximo de dos mitades iguales y pueden asignar un grupo de jugadores a cada campo completo o medio campo. 
  • Los clubes pueden asignar claramente hasta seis zonas por medio campo, espaciadas al menos a 10 pies de distancia. Solo un jugador puede estar en una zona en un momento dado con el fin de mantener el distanciamiento físico durante toda la sesión. Para mayor claridad, se puede asignar un máximo de seis jugadores a un solo grupo y cada jugador estará en una zona separada.
  • Durante las sesiones de entreno, los jugadores pueden cambiar de zona dentro de su propio grupo solo si otro jugador no se encuentra actualmente en esa zona. Los jugadores deben mantener una distancia física de al menos 10 pies de todos los demás jugadores y entrenadores mientras se mueven entre zonas.
  • Dentro de un solo grupo, los jugadores pueden pasar el balón y disparar a la portería. Sin embargo, los ejercicios de entrenamiento deben permitir a los jugadores mantener una distancia física de al menos 10 pies de distancia entre ellos.
  • Los jugadores solo pueden entrenar con los otros jugadores dentro de su propio grupo y no pueden interactuar con otros grupos. Si bien los grupos no pueden reorganizarse durante una sesión de entrenamiento, los clubes pueden reorganizar la combinación de jugadores en cada grupo de una sesión a otra.
  • Los entrenadores y el cuerpo técnico deben usar un tapabocas en todo momento y pueden dirigir a los jugadores desde el perímetro del campo, nunca ingresando a la cancha, mientras mantienen al menos 10 pies de distancia del resto del personal y jugadores.
  • Solo se puede usar equipo aprobado durante la sesión de entrenamiento, incluyendo pelotas; arcos pequeños y regulares; discos y conos pequeños; rebotadores; anillos; Pods GPS y equipo personal que no se comparte entre jugadores. No se pueden usar maniquíes, postes, bandas, pesas y máquinas de pelotas.
  • Los porteros no pueden escupir en sus guantes y deben limpiar, desinfectar sus guantes después de cada entrenamiento.

Durante los entrenamientos reducidos, Inter Miami debe continuar manteniendo los protocolos de seguridad y salud implementados por para los entrenamientos individuales voluntarios.

MLS Players, League Reach Agreement on CBA, Return To Play

MIAMI, Fla. — (3 June 2020) The MLS Players Association voted on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning to approve the latest return-to-play plan negotiated with Major League Soccer. The MLSPA announced Wednesday morning that the vote passed. It also announced that the new collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”) originally agreed to in February had been ratified by the players and league owners. 

CBA Ratified and Orlando Tournament

The vote means MLS will return from its COVID-19 suspension by way of a summer tournament in Orlando. The league suspended its season due to the COVID-19 pandemic on March 12th.

Details About Proposed MLS Tournament

Tournament Working Plan; Player Concerns and the CBA all come into play as MLS considers its restart.

MLS News

MIAMI, Fla. — (28 May 2020) Further details about the competition format for Major League Soccer’s return-to-play proposal have been disclosed, in addition to details about the potential for an abbreviated regular season and salary cuts for players.  

Plans For Orlando Tournament

MLS is planninng to return to action after the COVID-19 suspension by staging a tournament that will have all 26 teams in Orlando, Fla., for a tournament at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports athletic complex.

The tournament has not yet been officially announced by MLS and still needs the approval of the MLS Players Association. Sources have said that the league’s working plan would see the 26 teams divided into four groups. Two of the groups would consist of teams from the Eastern Conference, and two would consist of teams from the Western Conference, with Nashville temporarily switching from West to East (which makes more geographic sense.) The defending U.S. Open Cup winners Atlanta United, MLS Cup holders Seattle Sounders and Supporters’ Shield winners LAFC would each be seeded in separate groups, with the remaining group seeded with tournament “hosts” Orlando City.

The remainder of the groups would be allocated via a random draw of teams within their own conferences, with one Eastern Conference group containing eight teams and the other three groups with six teams each.

The intial proposal in the working plan would have teams play five games apiece, with the top two teams in each group advancing to an eight-team, knockout-style competition. Multiple sources indicate that those group-stage games would count toward MLS league standings. The league intends to its teams to eventually resume a portion of the regular season (behind closed-doors) However, no final decisions have been made.

What exactly the teams would be playing for in the knockout stage of the Orlando tournament is unclear, apart from providing broadcast rights holders with revenue.

The tournament already has a tagline, “MLS is back.” A marketing campaign will also be implemented for this endeavour.

Plans for the regular season

If the regular season can eventually be resumed sometime after the Orlando tournament, the working plan calls for no inter-conference games. Nashville would remain in the East for the rest of 2020, thus giving the Eastern Conference 14 teams and the Western 12.  

The working plan also calls for playoffs after the end of the regular season, in which 9 teams in each conference would qualify. Again, this is designed to provide teams with a greater opportunity to earn gameday revenue and the league with an additional six games of television pay.

Once again, nothing has been finalised.

In news first reported by the Washington Post, expanded on by Sam Stejskal in The Athletic last week, the working plan would see teams arrive in central Florida and report to the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex on or about June 1st. They would be lodged at the Coronado Springs Resort and would begin closely monitored and quarantined individual training sessions, followed by small-group training sessions starting on June 8th. By mid-June the training would become full squad and continue for two weeks. Games would begin in the beginning of July. 

It’s been confirmed by sources that the league has circled July 3rd in the calendar as the start date for games. 

Inter Miami CF officials were not available for comment. The league recently banned club personnel and owners from speaking about the plan or the effects of the coronavirus on teams.

MLSPA must approval plan

The working plan, once it is finalised, must be approved by the players association, the MLSPA. The players association has submitted a list of around 100 questions that it wants the league to answer. While it is alleged that not all of those questions have been answered, the MLSPA expects the league to respond to its questions and to the counteroffer on the issue of pay cuts (see below) very soon.

The MLSPA has a responsibility to the players, so naturally the players’ health and safety concerns need to be addressed. Players would not be allowed to leave the resort, but the hotel workers come and go each day. This has been an issue for the MLSPA and players, who question whether they would truly be safe when the workers onsite leave and come back each day. Ordering hotel workers to be quarantined also would likely be unacceptable to the workers, their union, and the hotel operators, putting aside the issue of it possibly being illegal.

“It’s like being in a luxurious prison.”

According to published reports, more than a few players are not pleased with the prospect of being on lock-down without their families for weeks. Notable stars such as LAFC’s Carlos Vela, the LA Galaxy’s Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez and Orlando City’s Nani are specficially named. For example, Vela’s wife, Saioa Cañiabano, is 15 week’s pregnant with the couple’s second child as of April 14th.

Players of course get paid to play, and they want to play. Despite that, some have expressed their own concerns about the potential physical and mental effects of living in quarantine, entirely separated from their families for as many as two months in the middle of a pandemic. Philadelphia Union captain and designated player Alejandro Bedoya voiced his opinion:

“I would start off by saying that I think every one of us agree that we want to get back to playing,” Bedoya told ESPN’s Taylor Twellman earlier this week. “I want to get back out there, being competitive, (playing) games. The staff wants to be out there, fans want to be watching games, but I will say that this all feels a little bit rushed. I think that we all need to be partners in this, you know, ESPN and Disney, which owns ESPN, is just partnering with MLS to help the owners out and to show games. I think the players are taking all the risks by going down [to Orlando], being isolated, it’s a strong term to say, but it’s like being in a luxurious prison.”

While the players and team personnel woud likely be well-protected, the fact remains that COVID-19 has not gone away; new cases continue to rise, despite certain states that have “reopened” and efforts on the part of some state and federal government officials to downplay its threat. The United States is behind the curve in the pandemic of countries such as Germany where the Bundesliga has returned to play. Moreover, the US has the highest numbers of infections and deaths of any country. All of this should suggest to sports leagues in the US to proceed very slowly and cautiously.

Tournament plan set against talk of a pay cut

The timing of the restart of MLS is also set against the backdrop of a potential pay cut for players. MLS has proposed a 20 percent pay reduction for all players. The MLSPA responded with a counteroffer that would save owners $100 million through the 2024 season, and would reduce the salary cut to only five percent, with a 5 percent wage deferral and reductions in player bonuses. The league allegedly has not responded to the MLSPA’s counteroffer regarding the potential pay cut.

MLS player’s union proposal offers $100M in payroll releif

Obviously until the MLSPA has its questions answered, and has time to reflect and negotitate with the league on both the tournament and the pay cut issue, the union will not approve the Orlando tournament.

How the new Collective Bargaining Agreement affects talks

The discussions about the Orlando tournament as well as pay cuts also invokes the labour situation, namely the new five-year Collective Bargaining Agreement that MLS and MLSPA reached agreement on just prior to the start of the 2020 season. That contract has not yet been ratified by either side.

Because the agreement has not been formally executed, it is possible that the owners could force the union’s hand, or risk having the owners lock out the players, which would cut off their pay and end their league-provided health insurance benefits. (A discussion of why health insurance should never be tied to a job is beyond the scope of this story but the predicament of the players is not unique in this regard and provides yet another example of the need to radically alter health care in the United States.)

MLSPA executive director Bob Foose said: “Conversations between the MLSPA and the league about concessions have been challenging, but constructive. Despite the fact that CBA negotiations were just concluded and we anticipated a deal for the next five seasons, to share in the sacrifice caused by the coronavirus crisis, MLS players have stepped up to offer a package that would bring over $100M in economic relief to the league and its owners.”

Is a tournament really the best way to proceed?

It is a fair question to ask whether the idea of a month or more long tournament in Orlando is the best way to proceed. The analysis requires weighing both the interests of the league and those of the players.

With some teams still not able to begin individual workouts due to local stay-at-home orders, bringing the 26 teams to Orlando would level the playing field in terms of the ability of teams to prepare for the 2020 season if and when it can restart.

There is an obvious advantage to the league and its media rights holders in staging the tournament. The disadvantages to the players have been noted above. On top of what has already been said, there is the climatic conditions in Orlando in July and August. It is reported that game times would have to be early morning or in the evening to avoid the severe heat and humidity of a Central Florida summer, which is even hotter than the conditions that prevail further south in Miami.

Would it not just be better to restart the season behind closed doors in each team’s home market? It seems to be working just fine for the Bundesliga, and will be the plan for LaLiga, Serie A and the Premier League. The league could still rework the schedule to keep travel down in a shortened season.

Maybe it is just too logical.

IMHoy: In The Spotlight

With two games in the books, Nico Figal has been a standout player.

Player Spotlight - Welcome to 7DAYS EuroCup
Jorge Figal

Nicolás Figal Inter Miami CF Defender 5

Full Name:Jorge Nicolás Figal
DOB3 April 1994 (26 years old)
Height:1,80 m (5′ ft 9 in.)
Citizenship:Argentina  Argentina
Position:Defender – Centre-Back
Foot:Right

In his first game for Inter Miami, centre back Nico Figal looked quite solid, turning in a good performance in the expansion club’s 1-0 road loss to Los Angeles Football Club. He played all 90 minutes in the second game, a narrow loss to D.C. United. Obviously, two games do not make a season, But they demonstrate his potential to be a very effective player for the Rosanegro.

The 25-year-old Argentine signed with the club Feb. 5 via a transfer from Independiente, where he played in over 100 games. Although his signing did not generate the same buzz as Designated Players Matías Pellegrini and Rodolfo Pizarro, Figal could wind up being one of the team’s best finds.

He is an experienced player in his prime who got called up to Argentina’s national team camp last summer. In addition to being a physical, tenacious defender, he can carry the ball out from the back and is not afraid to join the attack. Reports from Argentina said he has a tendency to step out of the back line and roam forward when the time is right.

“Nico’s a very talented center back and I feel very fortunate to have him in front of me.”

Luis Robles, Goalkeeper

Goalkeepers Luis Robles thinks highly of Nico and his potential: “Nico’s a very talented center back and I feel very fortunate to have him in front of me, the keeper said. “His game is only going to continue to develop and grow in this league. What we saw in the first game may be a precursor or even preview of what we can expect from the season, but I don’t want to jump too quickly to conclusions that he’s this or that. Let’s give him a run of games and then we can properly evaluate what can be expected.”

Specifically, Robles says that based on his personal observations, Figal is very good on the ball and gives the team something special. Figal’s ability to offer two-way play is also something Robles likes: “As we look to lock down some of the more talented forwards, we want a guy that we can be confident not only that we can put their best player against him, and he’ll lock them down, but when he goes forward, he’ll be an asset. I think that’s him, but we need to pump the brakes on the expectations.” 

Figal said he enjoys the chance to assist on the attack when the opportunity presents itself. “I like to anticipate, make a move forward and be another attacker,” he said. “That is one of my characteristics.”

When the club signed him, sporting director Paul McDonough said: “Nico is just entering his prime as a player and has already shown impressive skill in defense. He showed his quality playing in Argentina, winning important international competitions and being selected as one of the best defenders in his country.”

With the season waiting to be restarted in some form, so far, at least, the scouting report proved accurate.

U.S. Soccer ends development academy; MLS announces youth league

Inter Miami CF Academy, MLS reinforce commitment to players and families in light of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy’s recent dissolution  

MIAMI, Fla. (20 April 2020) —

The U.S. Soccer Federation announced Wednesday, April 15, 2020 that it is terminating its development academy, a nationwide youth league encompassing several age groups for both boys and girls, effective immediately. The Inter Miami CF Academy and other MLS academies participated in this system.

In a related announcement that was published several minutes after the US Soccer announcement, MLS said it is forming a new youth competition for the league’s academy teams that might also include non-MLS youth teams.

Inter Miami CF sent out the following message concering its academy:

“We plan to return to the field as soon as it is safe to do so and are working closely with Major League Soccer and other teams to redefine our new elite competition format.”  

Major League Soccer’s new competition is billed as an “elite youth competition platform to provide year-round high-level matches for academy teams that previously participated in the U.S. Soccer Development Academy.”

“We want to reassure Inter Miami CF Academy players and families that our commitment to the Academy and youth development in South Florida is as strong as ever,” said Inter Miami CF COO & Sporting Director Paul McDonough. “We plan to return to the field as soon as it is safe to do so and are working closely with Major League Soccer and other teams to redefine our new elite competition format.”  

“Major League Soccer is deeply committed to developing world-class players through an elite competitive pathway, from our academy teams through the professional game,” said Todd Durbin, MLS Executive Vice President of Competition & Player Relations. “As we look ahead to the 2026 FIFA World Cup here in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, now more than ever it is incumbent on us to establish a competition that sets a new standard for elite youth play and allows athletes to achieve their full potential.”

The new platform will include league season matches and both regional and national tournaments with international teams. It will also expand coaching education and improve the approach to player identification to ensure top players have the opportunity to participate in a high-level development environment.

“We are seeing significant contribution to the quality of play in MLS from homegrown talent,” said Jeff Agoos, MLS Senior Vice President of Competition, Operations, and Medical Administration, two-time World Cup veteran with the U.S and five-time MLS Cup winner. “As we currently have 2,500 elite players and 250 top youth coaches in our academies, MLS is uniquely positioned to provide a new and enhanced platform that will include high-quality coaching, professionalized environments, and enhanced player identification.” 

“Participating in high quality, competitive matches on a consistent basis is essential to the development of our young players,” said Fred Lipka, Vice President and Technical Director of MLS Player Development. “Launching this new competition will allow us to consistently challenge players, staffs, and teams, optimizing the potential of every player on the field.”

In addition, MLS is evaluating the potential to provide future competition opportunities for girls.

“Magesterial” Media Group Assembled For Inter Miami

MIAMI, Fla. (March 27, 2020) —

Ray Hudson (@RayHudson), a native of the Newcastle suburb of Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, England, has built a career around soccer as a player, coach and TV commentator. He began as a midfielder playing for different teams in Europe and the U.S. over a span of 17 years between 1974 and 1991. It was at Newcastle United in England where Hudson began his professional career at the age of 17 in 1973. as well as the former NASL side Fort Lauderdale Strikers, where he racked up more than 150 appearances. One of the most recognisable broadcasters in world soccer, Ray was the head coach of MLS’s first Fort Lauderdale team, the Miami Fusion, from 1998 to 2001.

Hudson will serve as a colour commentator for Inter Miami matches on the club’s local television broadcasts. An avid FC Barcelona and Lionel Messi fan, Hudson time and time again has produced iconic quote after iconic quote about the five-time Ballon d’Or winner, like this gem:

“Centipedes fantasise about having one left leg as good as his.”

Ray Hudson, commenting on beIN Sports about Leo Messi

Ray is known for his unorthodox style and sizzling smiles through his work at beIN Sports, where he largely calls La Liga matches along with another great, Phil Schoen. He also works for Sirius XM, and he dubs himself a “verbal gymnast” on his own Twitter bio.

It was thus only fitting that the league’s return to South Florida involved Hudson in some capacity.

Fernando Fiore (@FernandoFiore), known as “El Presidente,” is a two-time Emmy Award-winning broadcaster, who co-hosts and contributes to Fox Soccer’s portfolio of elite football events, including the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™, 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup and 2016 Copa America Centenario. During the Russia World Cup, Fiore co-hosted the nightly recap show WORLD CUP TONIGHT from Red Square in Moscow.

Prior to making the crossover to English language television for the 2016 Cola America Centenario, Fiore, had spent his distinguished career working exclusively on Spanish-language television. His esteemed career spans nearly 30 years.

Prior to joining FOX Sports, Fiore worked for Univision, covering a wide range of assignments as a studio host and reporter. During his time with the network, Fiore covered FIFA World Cups, Olympic Games, Copa Libertadores Finals, International Championships and multiple high-profile championship boxing bouts. He hosted some of the most recognised programs in Spanish-language television including Republica Deportiva Univision’s flagship weekly sports program from its debut in 1999 until his departure in 2014.

Photo: Inter Miami CF

Fiore began his broadcasting career as a reporter for the news magazine program “Dia a Dia,” then went on to host “Lente Loco” and later “Fuera de Serie,” which he co-hosted alongside actress Sofia Vergara.

In 2006, Fiore authored his first book “The World Cup: The Ultimate Guide to the Greatest Sports Spectacle in the World,” providing an in-depth look into the history of the FIFA World Cup, its teams and players, which quickly became a huge success.

He has developed a style all his own over the years. In addition to being entertaining, he has the ability to inject humour into the broadcast studio, a trait that is often lacking in professional sports coverage. Fiore always travels with his signature yellow and red cards which are issued at his discretion.

Originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina, and a big fan of Club Atlético River Plate, Fiore has called Miami home since the early 1990s. He is also one of the original members of Inter Miami supporters group Southern Legion.

Andres Cordero (@DreCordero) brings solid commentating and play-by-play experience to Inter Miami’s content team after developing a successful career among South Florida media outlets. A graduate of Miami’s Florida International University, he spent the past seven years working as a commentator and presenter for GolTV before joining beIN Sports. He has experience covering soccer competitions and global tournaments throughout Europe, North America and South America.

Photo: Inter Miami CF

Kaylyn Kyle (@KaylynKyle) is a former professional midfielder from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, who brings a unique perspective to Inter Miami as a former professional female athlete both at the club and international levels. Kyle represented Canada at the 2012 London Olympics, winning a bronze medal with her team, and at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, making it to the quarter-finals. Throughout her 10 years as a professional athlete, Kyle played for clubs in Sweden and the United States, including NWSL teams in Vancouver, Seattle, Portland as well as the Orlando Pride, while also amassing 101 games and scoring 6 goals for the Canadian women’s national soccer team. She is currently a reporter for beIN Sports and previously served as Women’s World Cup analyst for TSN in 2019. It is interesting to note that her husband, Harrison Heath, is a starting midfielder with the Miami FC of the USL Championship.

Inter fall short in The District

It could aptly be described as a strange afternoon in The District. Strange twists and turns were found throughout the match, and in the end, what could very well have been an Inter Miami victory turned out to be a win for home side D.C. United.

Frédéric Brillant scored on a rebound to complete a stunning sequence of events early in the second half and D.C. United rallied from a goal down to defeat 10-man Inter Miami 2-1 on Saturday afternoon at Audi Field.

D.C. United defender Frédéric Brillant, second from left, is mobbed by teammates after scoring the winner in a 2-1 victory over expansion Inter Miami at Audi Field. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)

Yamil Asad also scored from the penalty spot as D.C. United (1-1-0, 3 points) picked up their first win of the season at the expense of expansion opponents who have begun with a pair of one-goal defeats on the road.

Inter Miami Lineup | Once Titular | Graphic: Russo Soccer

It started off very well for Miami. Rodolfo Pizarro had already missed a previous chance before scoring the first goal in the history of Inter Miami (0-2-0, 0 points) in the second minute. Rookie Robinson started the attack after a D.C. turnover, driving inside the penalty area and finding Scottish midfielder Lewis Morgan on the right. Morgan tucked a low pass to the back post, where Pizarro easily finished past a stranded Hamid. In addition to making history with Miami, Pizarro became the 50th Mexican player to score a goal in MLS.

The game changed drastically shortly after the restart on a sequence in which Lewis Morgan appeared to have doubled Miami’s lead on a shot that deflected off a United defender and past goalkeeper Bill Hamid.

However, the goal was disallowed and to make matters worse Román Torres  was sent off following video assisted review showed he clearly touched the ball with his arm. In referee Rubiel Vazquez’s judgment, it denied an obvious goal-scoring opportunity (in this instance one for his own team). Torres thus has the dubious distinction of being the first Inter Miami player to be shown red.

Watch: Román Torres sent off for handball

The sending off gave new life to D.C. Minutes later, Inter midfielder Victor Ulloa took down Edison Flores in the penalty area, and the referee pointed to the spot. Asad stepped to up convert the penalty kick to level the game in the 59th minute. It was Asad’s first goal in any competition since he previously played with D.C. in 2018 and after a largely inactive 2019 spent in Argentina.

Two minutes after that, in the 61st, Flores was in the middle again, striking the right post with a free kick earned by Felipe. Frédéric Brillant reached the rebound and hammered the half volley into the net from the edge of the six-yard box.

Three players all left the game due to injuries, all in the first half. D.C. United’s Ola Kamara and Joseph Mora, and Inter Miami’s Robbie Robinson all had to be substituted off. Robinson had to exit the contest just before the halftime whistle after D.C. defender Steven Birnbaum fell on the back of his leg. The rookie forward got up under his own power and briefly tried to re-enter the contest, but was subbed off for Juan Agudelo.

The Manager’s thoughts

“We deserve more than what the record of these two games may reflect,” Inter Miami CF manager Diego Alonso said after the game. “We played better than last week; our first half was great. Those few minutes changed the game but even with 10 guys, we kept pushing until the end.”

Miami will play its first home game next Saturday in Fort Lauderdale against the team co-owner David Beckham played for in MLS — the Los Angeles Galaxy. The game has been announced as a sell out. It will mark the first MLS game in Fort Lauderdale since the Fusion’s last home game on October 16, 2001, a playoff match versus the San Jose Earthquakes that Miami lost after extra time 0-1. With a new team, a new brand, new stadium and much more, Inter will be looking to get its first win for South Florida fans.

Inter Miami Hoy Man of The Match:

We’d love to pick Rodolfo Pizarro for scoring the first goal in Rosanegro history, but in a close contest, he’ll have to wait for another week. This week’s MOTM is Frédéric Brillant of D.C. United, whose second half goal turned out to be the game winner.

Más:

Rodolfo Pizarro: “Nos mereciamos más; perdimos por errores y desconcentraciones tontas.”

Match Preview: DC United – Inter Miami

Broadcast: Nationally televised on Univision/TUDN and streamed on Twitter accounts @MLS and @TUDNUSA. at 3:30 p.m. ET;

Inter Miami CF will travel to Washington, D.C. to play its second match in Major League Soccer (MLS) this Saturday, March 7 versus D.C. United at Audi Field.

Manager Diego Alonso’s Thoughts:

“We expect to find a good opponent. We’ve analyzed them. It’s a team that works well together as a collective and they will surely make it difficult for us,” said Head Coach Diego Alonso. “They’re in need of points since they weren’t able to win their last game playing at home and they will surely be seeking to get the three points.”
 
“For us, after our performance in our last match, we need to continue building on the things we’re doing right so we can improve,” added Alonso. “It’s a good opportunity for us to continue perfecting our style of play and improving the team.”

Inter Miami began its inaugural season on Sunday, March 1, in a match against reigning Supporters’ Shield champions Los Angeles Football Club. The visitors fought valiantly but fell to a superior opponent 1-0.

Inter Miami lined up for that match with Luis Robles at goalkeeper, Alvas Powell, Román Torres, Nicolás Figal and Ben Sweat in defense, Victor Ulloa, Will Trapp, Rodolfo Pizarro, Lewis Morgan and Matías Pellegrini in midfield, and Robbie Robinson at forward.

Robles was the winter Miami Hoy player of the match, making eight saves. He also earned eMLS Team of the Week honours.

D.C. United are coming off of a 2-1 loss at home to Colorado Rapids. They opened the scoring in that match through a Russell Canouse header, but allowed a 67th minute equalizer and 92nd minute winner from the Rapids.

Following the defeat, the Black-and-Red had a acquired veteran playmaker Federico Higuaín as a player and Player Development Coach on March 2. The next day, Mohammed Abu arrived on a season-long loan from Norwegian side Valerenga Fotball to bolster depth in midfield. On March 5, D.C. United re-signed Russell Canouse to a three-year contract extension. Canouse scored the lone goal for DC last week with a well-placed header off a corner. United also re-signed captain Steven Birnbaum to a contract extension on March 6. Birnbaum has started every match for United over the last two seasons.

The team from The District had a strong 2019 MLS season, finishing as the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference and qualifying for the playoffs. The team had the strongest defense in the conference, allowing just 38 goals. This was second-best in the league to LAFC who allowed 37 goals in 2019.

Inter Miami challenges, but drops inaugural match 1-0 to LAFC

LOS ANGELES (March 1, 2020) —

The first ever match for David Beckham’s franchise was full of anticipation. Excitement came from the ownership group, fans, players and the media. Few teams have begun existence in the spotlight as much as Inter Miami has.

Though the club failed to bring home any points from the Banc of California Stadium on Sunday afternoon, it was highly pleased and proud with the effort that the players gave against one of the best teams in Major League Soccer.

Match statistics, timeline and more from MLS

Starting 11 / Once inicial | Photo: Inter Miami CF
First Starting Eleven for Inter Miami/Once inicial | Graphic: Russo Soccer

“We had a great game,” said Inter Miami head coach Diego Alonso in Spanish. “They are very good but we showed a lot of heart and fought hard. We had a lot of clear chances to take the lead and then to tie when we were down 1-0. That’s what I take away.“

“We have to get better from a soccer standpoint, but surely we will win a lot of games with the heart and intensity that the team plays with.”

Inter Miami lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation. In the opening minutes, the Rosanegro struggled, unable to complete passes against LAFC’s high pressure, resulting in several turnovers. Inter Miami defenders were also out of position. several times as they tried to contain the highly charged LAFC front line of Carlos Vela, Diego Rossi, and Brian Rodriguez. Fortunately, Inter Miami’s newly-appointed captain Luis Robles, was ready for the onslaught and demonstrated leadership in the early minutes of the match. He made an impressive save in the fifth minute, diving to his left and getting a hand on a powerful header from Diego Rossi. Robles turned in a strong game and kept Inter Miami within a strike of equalizing. In total, Robles made eight saves, including an equally spectacular outstretched dive to stop a Rossi shot in the 30th. Indeed, Robles kept Miami in the game.

“The weeks that we’ve been together, that chemistry aspect isn’t always there,” said midfielder Wil Trapp. “I think the more we train together, the more we’re able to be on the field together, you’ll strengthen those ties.”

Having survived the opening part of the first half, Miami looked more confident as the half wore on. The club started to win back some possession, and even created a few decent chances that required LAFC keeper Kenneth Vermeer to take action. A strike from Matías Pellegrini in the 37th minute was punched out by Vermeer and a diagonal shot from Ben Sweat also in the 37th minute that was heading towards the corner of the net was cleared away by the LAFC defense.

However, Miami was undone in the 44th minute. Just as it looked the half would end deadlocked at 0-0, Carlos Vela, who set the MLS record for goals scored in a season last year with 34, created his own opportunity and began his 2020 tally. It was a perfect present for his 31st birthday. Vela dribbled diagonally through a number of defenders, then lobbed the ball a over retreating Robles to give the Black and Gold a 1-0 advantage.

Asked about the goal, Wil Trapp said that it was unfortunate. “For us, the 10 minutes right before the goal were probably the best minutes we had.”

In the second half, Miami came out playing similarly to the end of the first half. The team even had some moments when it dictated the tempo and threatened LAFC’s back line. The team’s weakness in the final third however was what limited its effectiveness. Pizarro came within centimetres of equalizing in minute 54 when he slid to try to poke the ball into the corner after receiving a nice cross from midfielder Lewis Morgan.

Inter Miami brought on former LAFC midfielder Lee Nguyen in the 68th minute for Victor Ulloa, followed by a 79th minute double change. Juan Agudelo and Christian Makoun came on for Morgan and Mari Pellegrini. These substitution of players who were playing on the wing served to narrow the team’s shape.

A few late chances came Inter Miami’s way, including a 97th minute shot from Nguyen. The midfielder collected possession from a Román Torres pass and curled a left-footed shot from the top of the box that was saved by the keeper. The final shot tally was quite even, with LAFC having nine shots on target compared to Inter Miami’s seven. 

The first match in the history of the Club thus ended in defeat, but with much promise.

One of the most impressive aspects of the trip to Los Angeles was the support Internacional saw from its supporters. Members of the team’s official supporters’ groups – Southern Legion, Vice City 1896 and The Siege – made the cross-country trip to Los Angeles to support the team for the historic occasion and their presence was appreciated and acknowledged by the players.

Head coach Diego Alonso said that “at the club they really treat me like someone in the family and the fans are the same. Not just ours, but the league’s fans. It has been an incredible welcome and we are very proud to belong and compete in the MLS,” he said. “Our fans have really been amazing. I want to make a special mention to them. The support we have had has been tremendous in each of the days that have passed before the start of the league and today they have been fantastic. We dedicate our effort and our heart to them, everything we do in the league is going to be dedicated to them.”

Of course, it was disappointing to lose, but Miami held its own against one of the favourites to win MLS Cup this year. Additionally, Los Angeles came into the game having already played a difficult home and away round in the Concacaf Champions League, having rallied from a 2-0 deficit to win 3-0 in the return to defeat Mexican side León.

Here is a recap of the match:

Ahead of historic first game, David Beckham talks Inter Miami

DORAL, Fla. (February 27, 2020) —

With his club’s historic premiere in Major League Soccer now just three days’ away, David Beckham, a co-owner of Club Internacional de Fútbol Miami, made several appearances in the media, most notably on the Jimmy Fallon Show which aired last night, along with spots on the Today Show and Good Morning America this morning.

Here are links via twitter:

“Nothing goes on without me overseeing things.”

David Beckham

When asked on the Today Show if the choice of pink was risky, Beckham smiled and responded: “The more pink the better.” We couldn’t agree more David. This is Miami and we are used to vibrant colours all around us.

On Good Morning America, Beckham recounted that “It’s been a long journey. A journey that I actually didn’t think was going to take this long.”

Cover: David Beckham | Photo: Inter Miami CF