After six tries, Inter Miami finally captured their first win last Saturday. And on Wednesday, they’ll line up against Atlanta United and try to make it back-to-back wins.
Here are five things that Inter Miami will have to do to make that happen.
Key 1 — Maintain possession
The one area in which Inter Miami has struggled in the most throughout their first six matches is controlling possession. While it may have felt like they were in more control in their 3-2 victory over Orlando City, they only had the ball for 35% of the game.
With Blausie Matiudi’s introduction to the team expected in the near future, this area will get better. Wil Trapp and Victor Ulloa have the opportunity to create some separation between each other with his midfield partner in the middle of the park. Ulloa has been the better of the two since the restart so if he can get another positive performance under his belt it can increase his playing time later in the season.
Lee Nguyen is also an option off the bench. He didn’t come off the bench in the last match and could be used if fresh legs are needed late in the match (more on that in Key 3).
Key 2 — Confident Carranza
Julian Carranza’s two goals in the last match make him the most potent striker on the roster this season. He’s outplayed fellow forwards Robbie Robinson, who didn’t score in his first two games, and Juan Agudelo.
For a striker to really get going one trait that they need is confidence, and Carranza possesses that.
After his two-goal performance in the victory, it’ll be essential to feed him early and keep him dangerous so he can keep the belief that the manager trusts him.
If Carranza can get another goal in this one or keep constant pressure on the defense, he could become a lock in the starting XI. Other attributes he brought to the victory besides the goals were his hold up play and draw fouls in attacking positions.
3 — Watch stamina and strong impact from subs
After a 33-day hiatus between Inter Miami’s elimination from the MLS Is Back Tournament, they will play their second match with just a four-day break. As starters get back into game shape it may take some time for their legs to get fully under them.
With the quick turnaround, Diego Alonso may have to go to his bench early to keep the energy high on the pitch.
The aforementioned Nguyen and Brek Shea are both players with MLS experience that can make an impact in the second half. Jerome Kiesewetter, who has overseas experience, could be used as an option if they are trailing or tied and in search of a goal.
4 — Continuity with the back line
After Leandro Gonzalez Pirez’s debut on Saturday, it seems that the defensive back still needs some time to gel. He was partnered with Andres Reyes in the middle while Nicolas Figal and Ben Sweat played outside. Figal and Sweat both were threats down the wing to play crosses, the latter assisting Carranza’s second goal with a beautiful ball in the 23rd minute.
No defense wants to give up one goal, let alone two like this group did in the Orlando City match. The more the defenders play together, the more they will understand their teammate’s play-style and become more in-sync.
5 — Convert set-pieces
Inter Miami is yet to score a goal this season off a set-piece. Lewis Morgan’s service has been exceptional this season so far in dead ball situations placing crosses into dangerous places when there is a foul in the offensive third. So the issue is not the crossing, it’s the finishing.
The taller players need to become better aerial finishers in order to start producing goals in these situations. Roman Torres’ effort late against the Philadelphia Union after a corner is the closest the team has come to finding the back of the net this season from a free-kick.