Subpar performance in a must-win game.
KISSIMMEE, Fla. (July 20, 2020) — Things have gone from bad to worse. Inter Miami, the team that was supposed to challenge for championships “right from the start” lost 1-0 to New York City FC today at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. In addition to being eliminated from the knockout stages of the tournament, Internacional also managed to set a new MLS expansion team record for futility with five consecutive losses to begin their life in MLS — the worst-ever start for a new MLS team. At 0-0-5 on the season, Inter Miami should be thankful there is no relegation in MLS, as they sit rooted to the bottom of the Eastern Conference table. The motorcoach ride home to Fort Lauderdale will probably feel like the ride of shame.
Inter Miami’s became the first team officially eliminated from the tournament.
New York City will finish third in Group with three points. But the club from the five boroughs is unlikely to move on in the tournament as one of the top four third-place finishers given their minus-2 goal differential.
Setting Records | In addition to being the first expansion to begin with 5 straight losses, Inter Miami is only the fifth team ever to start a season 0-0-5 in MLS’ 25 years.
Café con fútbol didn’t produce a compelling game. Both New York City and Inter Miami were seeking their first win in the tournament going into today’s match, both needing a win to have even the slimmest hopes of qualifying for the knockout stage. It was a battle of two 0-0-4 teams, the first time in MLS history.
The early start time is not good for television ratings. It also doesn’t appear to be too good for players either. Neither side generated much in the way of scoring chances in the first half. That said, Inter Miami had a couple of possibilities early in the match, headers by Juan Agudelo and Nicolás Figal that required saves from NYCFC goalkeeper Sean Johnson.
Manager Diego Alsonso continued with his defensively geared 4-2-3-1 formation notwithstanding Internacional’s need to score goals. Mickey Ambrose was preferred at right back in place of Ben Sweat, whose play has been inconsistent on the campaign thus far.
NYCFC dominated possession all game, finishing with 60 percent to Inter’s 40. The Sky Blues’ time on the ball finally produced dividends in the 64th minute, and the stalemate was broken. Forward Alexandru Mitriță literally floated a pass over the top of the Inter Miami defence, which was handled perfectly by forward Ismael Tajouri-Shradi, who took full advantage of the late responding defenders, and after one dribble slotted his shot into the bottom left corner of the net. It was Tajouri-Shradi’s twentieth goal for City since moving to the club from Fussballklub Austria Wien in Jan. 2018.
The goal represented the only serious scoring opportunity on either side. Inter Miami had just eight shots and only two on target. New York City wasn’t much better; just six shots, also with two on target. But it was just enough to secure the victory.
After City took the lead, Internacional showed no real threat of equalising. The Rosanegro had really very little offensive prowess. Their inability to produce the necessary quality in the final third was on display again on Monday.
To add insult to injury, Juan Agudelo received his second yellow card of the match in second half stoppage time for a reckless tackle on New York’s Anton Tinnerholm that surely could have made an NFL highlight reel. Inter Miami finished with just 10 players on the pitch for the third time in five games, something which demonstrates a lack of discipline.
Post Game Reflections
“I think losing the three games was a little bit unfair for us,” Inter Miami manager Diego Alonso said. “We got less than we deserved. I think that in the match today we didn’t play as well as in the Philly game. But the team deserved more and got less.
“We are going to continue insisting, fighting hard. I don’t regret being the head coach of this team. I am with them more than ever. We’re going to get through this together, believing in them and improving together. We know that football is going to give us what we deserve.”
It was the fifth straight loss for Inter Miami in its expansion season, all of which came by one goal. No one knows when Inter Miamai’s next game will be. The tournament runs until August 11th, and there is no official word yet on any continuation of the season.
“The team’s in a tough spot right now,” goalkeeper Luis Robles said after the game. “Everyone is disappointed with the way that the tournament went, the way that the game went. And I think it’s inevitable to feel this way if you’re 0-5.”
“We know that we’re in a difficult place right now,” Robles said, “but the only thing we can do is stick together and commit to the process, continue to believe in one another, work hard, demand more from each other, and focus on the process and don’t get too fixated on the results. If we can do this, then we’ll turn this around.”
As time slowly ticked away, reality set in for Inter Miami fans. The hunt for any sign of progress must again go on hold. The team still lacks depth and needs a striker to help improve the attack. Recent news about players linked with the team hasn’t helped to boost fans’ hopes. Both Edinson Cavani and Willian Borges da Silva (“Willian) have said no to co-owner David Beckham’s overtures.
Uncertain. MLS has no schedule right now for any games post-tournament amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
What is certain is that a full calendar is no longer an option. What happens next depends on the state of the country and the pandemic, which shows no sign of ending anytime soon. The United States is the worst-affected country on the planet, a telling condemnation of our handling of the virus as well as the failed health care system. Three of MLS’ teams based in Canada (Montréal, Toronto and Vancouver) may not be able to host any home games, as the Canadian border remains closed. (Baseball’s Toronto Blue Jays were recently denied their request to have home games in the city.)
Detailed Match Statistics and Player Ratings via WhoScored.com
|90’+7′||End Regular Time|
|90′||Second yellow card to Juan Agudelo (Inter Miami CF).|
|79′||Substitution, New York City FC. Gary Mackay-Steven replaces Ismael Tajouri-Shradi.|
|79′||Substitution, Inter Miami CF. Alvas Powell replaces Dylan Nealis.|
|79′||Substitution, Inter Miami CF. Jay Chapman replaces Victor Ulloa.|
|79′||Substitution, New York City FC. Maximiliano Moralez replaces Alexandru Mitrita.|
|68′||Substitution, Inter Miami CF. Julián Carranza replaces Matías Pellegrini.|
|68′||Substitution, Inter Miami CF. Ben Sweat replaces Mikey Ambrose.|
|68′||Substitution, Inter Miami CF. Lee Nguyen replaces Wil Trapp.|
|67′||Substitution, New York City FC. Keaton Parks replaces Jesús Medina.|
|64′||Goal! Inter Miami CF 0, New York City FC 1. Ismael Tajouri-Shradi (New York City FC) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Alexandru Mitrita with a through ball.|
|45′||Start 2nd Half|
|45’+3′||Anton Tinnerholm (New York City FC) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.|
|41′||Nicolás Figal (Inter Miami CF) is shown the yellow card.|
|39′||Maxime Chanot (New York City FC) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.|
|23′||James Sands (New York City FC) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.|
|19′||Juan Agudelo (Inter Miami CF) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.|
|–||First Half begins.|
|Ismael Tajouri-Shradi 64′|
|Juan Agudelo 90′|
Man of the Match
Ismael Tajouri-Shradi, New York City
Cover Photo: Ismael Tajouri-Shradi, NYCFC | (Photo: NYCFC)