Inter Miami CF and Vasco Da Gama Play A Feisty, Fiery, Pre-Season Match

Miami Vasco

Photo by Danis Sosa

DRV Pink Stadium – Inter Miami CF lost their first pre-season friendly of the 2023 campaign 0-3 to Brazilian side Vasco Da Gama in a contentious and scrappy match. Nene, Alex Texeira, and Lucas Figueredo scored the goals for Vasco.

The Starting XI for IMCF had three “new” faces in Noah Allen, Corentin Jean, and Rodolfo Pizarro, along with the accustomed starters from last season.

Inter Miami CF initiated the match playing out through the center-backs, with the outside-backs Deandre Yedlin and Noah Allen up high and wide on the pitch. The early minutes were not crisp for either side, with a lot of fouls and misplaced passes.

At the 26′ minute, Damion Lowe delivered a pass back to Deandre Yedlin who tried to dribble out near the box and lost the ball. Eguinaldo filtered a pass in for Nene who scored Vasco’s first goal, 1-0. A mistake led to the stalemate being broken.

The rest of the first half was played evenly, with Robert Taylor’s play a bright spot for the team.

The young Herons came into the game in the second half, with Inter Miami CF making eleven substitutions. The youngsters came in energetic and looking to make things happen.

Edison Azcona and Jake LaCava were lively, leading the charge forward for the young Herons. Azcona had a shot miraculously parried by the Vasco goalkeeper near the 59′ minute.  Three minutes later he threaded a nice pass for LaCava who had his shot blocked by the charging goalie.

Another mishap by Miami led to Vasco de Gama’s second score. Aime Mabika passed the ball back to Nick Marsman who took a bad touch and served the ball up for Alex Texeira to put it in the back of the net. Vasco led 2-0, with Inter Miami CF down a player due to Robbie Robinson coming off the pitch injured. The match rules only allowed eleven substitutions and Inter Miami had already used them all, causing them to play the majority of the second half with ten players.

The final goal for Vasco came near the 89′ minute when Lucas Figueredo closed the curtains on the match. Vasco de Gama took a 3-0 victory in a game that was much tighter than the score would indicate.

Halftime Martinez Reveal

Josef Martinez, the new king of Miami was presented to his kingdom at halftime. The home crowd got to cheer him on and listen to a few words from the majestic player. Martinez was acquired from Atlanta United where he scored more than 100 goals, won an MLS league title, and was a league MVP. His accolades speak for themselves, and the Herons hope he can be just as successful in the pink & black.

Press Conference

Coach Neville was optimistic about the club’s direction despite the resounding loss, focusing on the positive aspects of the match, particularly the performances of the younger players,

“We want to promote our young players too, so it was a great night to see them perform at a really good level. I think the second half of the kids were sensational… I think we are in a really really strong position and we are just going to keep building and getting fitter and sharper with more rhythm.”

Edison Azcona, Jake LaCava, David Ruiz, Benjamin Cremaschi, all had good showings for the team. Azcona and LaCava have more experience which could lead to an expanded role on the squad if they continue to show they are worthy of the opportunity.

Final Thoughts

Miami’s first pre-season match was against an international side that was playing its third game on its Florida tour. Inter Miami is an ambitious club and they dove head first into the pre-season, which can lead to results like this. Vasco de Gama is a good Brazilian squad with some intriguing talented players who came to win the match, not just to train.

The first team played Vasco evenly except for the blunder by Yedlin that led to the goal. Miami is still missing key acquisitions, and for perspective, Josef Martinez, Franco Negri, and Nicolas Stefanelli should add another dimension to the squad. Personally, I’m not worried about a friendly 0-3 loss when in the second half the young Herons played a man down for a long stretch. What worries me is the mistakes by veteran players like Yedlin, and Marsman who should be better, even in friendly matches.

The young Herons are good players, and with more experience, some could become difference-makers for the club.

Ryan Sailor definitely has an opportunity to become a starter at center-back next to Chris McVey because of his consistency last season, and his penchant for playing clean games without silly mistakes. The Miami center-backs are going to be pivotal to the build-up of play and they cannot afford mishaps.

La Familia Fireworks

Finally, the fireworks at DRV Pink Stadium lit up the night and created a huge controversy that should have never occurred. On a night where silly mistakes led to goals against Miami, this silly idea could lead to lawsuits and issues for the club. The passion La Familia brings is fantastic and always a plus at the stadium, but sometimes just like in love, out-of-control passion can lead to bad decisions. I’m sure there was a better way to manifest the passion than to sneak in fireworks and launch them without proper authorization from the club.

This is a big “family” issue between the club and its supporters’ groups, I hope cooler heads will prevail and they can talk it out and move on. Family is supposed to stick together, and when a mistake is made it is best to recognize it.

Photos | Danis Sosa

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