In his first game for Inter Miami, centre back Nico Figal looked quite solid, turning in a good performance in the expansion club’s 1-0 road loss to Los Angeles Football Club. He played all 90 minutes in the second game, a narrow loss to D.C. United. Obviously, two games do not make a season, but they demonstrate his potential to be a very effective player for the Rosanegro.
The 25-year-old Argentine signed with the club Feb. 5 via a transfer from Independiente, where he played in over 100 games. Although his signing did not generate the same buzz as Designated Players Matías Pellegrini and Rodolfo Pizarro, Figal could wind up being one of the team’s best finds.
He’s an experienced player in his prime who got called up to Argentina’s national team camp last summer. In addition to being a physical, tenacious defender, he can carry the ball out from the back and is not afraid to join the attack. Reports from Argentina said he has a tendency to step out of the backline and roam forward when the time is right.
Goalkeeper Luis Robles thinks highly of Nico and his potential: “Nico’s a very talented center back and I feel very fortunate to have him in front of me, the keeper said. “His game is only going to continue to develop and grow in this league. What we saw in the first game may be a precursor or even preview of what we can expect from the season, but I don’t want to jump too quickly to conclusions that he’s this or that. Let’s give him a run of games and then we can properly evaluate what can be expected.”
Specifically, Robles says that based on his personal observations, Figal is very good on the ball and gives the team something special. Figal’s ability to offer two-way play is also something Robles likes: “As we look to lock down some of the more talented forwards, we want a guy that we can be confident not only that we can put their best player against him, and he’ll lock them down, but when he goes forward, he’ll be an asset. I think that’s him, but we need to pump the brakes on the expectations.”
Figal said he enjoys the chance to assist on the attack when the opportunity presents itself. “I like to anticipate, make a move forward and be another attacker,” he said. “That is one of my characteristics.”
When the club signed him, sporting director Paul McDonough said: “Nico is just entering his prime as a player and has already shown impressive skill in defense. He showed his quality playing in Argentina, winning important international competitions, and being selected as one of the best defenders in his country.”
With the season waiting to be restarted in some form, so far, at least, the scouting report proved accurate.