In their first meeting in MLS history, Inter Miami and Atlanta United played to a static 0-0 draw Wednesday night. And although there were no goals scored, here are my five takeaways from the match.
1 — Brek Shea brings more to the team than Matias Pellegrini
Brek Shea replaced Matias Pellegrini in the starting lineup and performed through his 81 minutes. Due to his versatility and experience at left-back, Shea is a better defender than Pellegrini and can cover more when he drifts forward on the left-hand-side.
He played an exceptional ball to Juan Agudelo in the first half that led to a one versus one breakaway but not a goal.
2 — Plenty of opportunities on the right side
Lewis Morgan caused havoc on the right-hand side all night for Inter Miami. Morgan and Agudelo linked up nicely on multiple occasions that gave him adequate space to play crosses into the box.
Most of the crosses in the first half ended up being blocked by the Atlanta United defense. but in the 39th minute, Morgan’s persistence on the wing found Nicolas Figal inside the six-yard box
3 — Miami gets lucky early
In the 11th minute, Brooks Lennon played a perfect cross from about 40 yards away that split the defense to Erick “Cubo” Torres at the edge of the box. Luckily, he absolutely skied it into the stands when it should have gone into the back of the net.
The defense gave up a golden opportunity early but they got bailed out by poor finishing, keeping the game level early and not forcing Miami to not have to play from behind.
4 — Free Kick woes continue
Will Inter Miami ever score on a set piece? The perfect moment came in the second half when Morgan took a corner kick and floated a ball into the box that was met by Victor Ulloa who headed it down to the far post.
That header found Leandro Gonzalez Pirez inside the six-yard box but he was unable to tuck it home. It’s not the service that’s the problem on set-pieces, it’s the finishing.
Pellegrini did come on as a sub and provided a good ball on a corner in the 89th minute, but it was headed wide by Juan Agudelo.
5 — First shutout
The major positive that Inter Miami can take away from this match is that it is the first time in team history that the team didn’t allow any goals. Besides the one early opportunity, Miami forced Atlanta to just one shot on target and kept everything in front of them throughout the match.
Continuity is building in the back four as Pirez gets more game time. And he and Andres Reyes are growing more as a center-back pair that will give opposing teams’ strikers a hard time.