Inter Miami CF is set to restart its inaugural season tonight by opening the MLS is Back Tournament against fellow Floridians Orlando City. The match will be the third-ever for Internacional and the team has high expectations for the tournament.
Last July 26, Inter Miami paid a multi-million dollar transfer fee to Club Atlético Banfield in order to acquire forward Julián Carranza, who along with fellow Argentine Matías Pellegrini, became the team’s first two signings.
Carranza remained on loan with Banfield for the fall Superliga season and then joined his future teammates for training camp at the end of January.
His transfer was listed on Transfermarkt as being for $6.16 million USD (5.5 million EUR). However, during Inter Miami’s preseason training, Carranza injured his foot in February, causing him to miss Internacional’s first two games in their history. Now, fully healthy, Carranza is ready to play. Fans of the Rosanegro will soon learn why the team felt so strongly about the young striker.
Tonight’s match could very well be the first one we see Julián Carranza on the pitch. The 20-year-old centre-forward is noted for possessing quality technical skills as well as speed, a combination that factored into Inter Miami’s reasons to be interested in him. Certainly, the potential to transfer him to Europe for a profit also factored into the equation. Carranza has a goalscorer’s nose for goal and his movements in the final third were likely key attributes in attracting Inter Miami.
Carranza has experience despite still being in the beginning stages of his pro career. He has played 48 overall games for Club Atlético Banfield, with 40 games in Argentina’s Superliga (first division), for a total of 2,977 minutes of playing time. He has started in more than half of those games, some of them under the guidance of former Argentine striker Hernán Crespo. He scored nine goals in the Superliga and added one assist. Carranza has also played for Argentina’s under-23 national team on multiple occasions.
Is Carranza a goal scorer? Statistics from his time in Argentina don’t necessarily validate that label, but given his younger age and the competitive nature of Argentina’s top flight, he shows that he is full of promise.
Inter Miami sporting director Paul McDonough thinks Carranza will do well in MLS. Speaking to journalists on the day of the signing, McDonough had this to say:
“Julian is a very grounded player with an impressive work rate. He’s the player that strives to score goals and is very good in the box”
A couple of clips of Carranza in action for Banfield are useful to display his skill:
Adding the missing element
Looking at Inter Miami’s first two games, what is clear is that they have not demonstrated goal-scoring capabilities. Their attack has been weak, as evidenced by the 1-0 away loss vs. Los Angeles FC and a 2-1 defeat in the District against D.C. The starter up top for those matches was first-year forward Robbie Robinson, who’s unavailable after leaving the tournament for personal reasons.
That leaves Carranza and Juan Agudelo as the Rosanegro’s options at forward. Agudelo’s career has shown he can play a number of positions, and, given the fact that the three group stage games are relatively close together, might make him more useful in Diego Alonso’s mind as a substitute. Meanwhile, Carranza is a natural number 9 (a pure striker). He could likely end up being head coach Diego Alonso’s preferred option at striker.
Inter Miami has as good of a chance as any team in their group going into the MLS tournament. To advance, they need to improve on offense and score some goals. Carranza could be a key player.
Against Orlando, expect to see Inter Miami deploy in a 4-2-3-1 formation, which is how they lined up against Los Angeles Football Club in the opening game on March 1.
Projected starting eleven:
Robles; Nealis, Reyes, Figal, Sweat on defence; Trapp, Ulloa, Morgan, Pizarro, Pellegrini in midfield, and Carranza as the lone striker.