Today is a moment all Inter Miami fans have been waiting for since the team announced that they would be signing Blaise Matuidi, a member of the most recent World Cup winning side.
Miami takes on Nashville Sunday in a battle of expansion teams, which’ll likely include Matuidi for the first time.
What are the things manager Diego Alonso’s squad must do right to ensure Matuidi’s debut is a victorios one?
Key 1: Matuidi’s Positive Impact:
With Matuidi available for selection, I think he’ll in the center of the park and increase Inter Miami’s ability to counter with quick passing after they force a turnover. It will be his first game time with Rodolfo Pizzaro, making it interesting to see how those two link up initially.
On the Pizzaro note, he’ll have to do less on the defensive side of the ball, which I believe will make him feel more free going forward.
Having someone of that quality in the back, we may see Pizzaro having to track back less and initially receiving the ball in more forward positions on the pitch.
It remains to be seen if “available” means he is fit enough to be in the starting XI or he will have a second half cameo appearance as he continues to work his way into the squad as he first pictured with them less than a week ago.
Key 2: Start Brek Shea Over Maitas Pellegrini:
I want to see Shea get the starting nod again on the left wing instead of Pellegrini. Being way stronger defensively with the crucial ability to transition a defensive stop into an offensive opportunity, that could be a realistic opportunity.
Left-back Ben Sweat already has an assist this season after moving forward on the wing to provide a cross. Similar to Maiutidi and Pizzaro, Shea can provide defense cover on the left side of the field when Sweat decides to drift forward and attack.
Key 3: Confident Defense Builds Off Shoutout:
Attempting to remodel their shutout against Atlanta United, as the unit continues to gain a better understanding of playing together, the chance will likely strike again.
That starts with Leandro Gonzalez Pirez and Andres Reyes, who are developing their center-back partnership while Sweat and Nicolas Figal hold down the wings.
In addition to the confidence from the last match, they’ll have an extra level of defensive cover should Matiudi start in the midfield as his tackling and position are much improved over Wil Trapp.
Key 4: Please Play Lee:
The one change Inter Miami fans were begging for when the game was scoreless against Atlanta United was for Lee Nguyen to make an appearance off the bench.
He’s one of the players that has the potential to become a super sub when the team needs a goal. In his five substitute appearances so far this season, it always seems like he brings more energy to the team on the offense side of the ball.
He’s already had time to build chemistry on the pitch with Pizzaro and the two combine nicely to make the team look better in the later stages of the game when he’s on the pitch.
Key 5: Make The Most Of Chances
Inter Miami shot the ball 18 times in their previous contest against Nashville but were unable to score. Part of that problem was the inability to get 15 of those shots on target and force the goalkeeper to make a save.
If they’re able to find similar success in getting opportunities to shoot, they’ll need to ask more of the keeper if they want to avenge their previous loss to Gary Smith’s group.