Inter Miami CF Lose Second Game in a Row After 1-0 Defeat at Columbus Crew

Inter Miami Columbus

Columbus, Ohio – Inter Miami CF lost their second straight match on the road, falling 1-0 to Columbus Crew Wednesday night at Lower.com Field. Luis Diaz scored the lone goal in the game at the 64′ minute. The Herons loss allows Columbus to leapfrog them in the Eastern Conference standings. After the match, Inter Miami fell to the seventh seed while Columbus jumped to sixth.

The Starting XI had four adjustments from the previous week, with Nick Marsman in goal being the biggest change. Marsman had not started for Miami since April 30 against New England Revolution. Ryan Sailor, Robert Taylor, and Bryce Duke were the other insertions for Miami.

The first half saw the Herons come out in a 5-3-2 formation against the Crew in an attempt to neutralize the strong Columbus attack. Robert Taylor and DeAndre Yedlin as the wingbacks provided width on attack and good support for the defense. Mcvey, Sailor and Lowe, shored up the center of the defensive unit. Jean Mota, Gregore, and Bryce Duke managed the midfield, with Duke playing a little higher as the central attacking midfield. Gonzalo Higuain and Ariel Lassiter were the forwards for Miami.

The initial minutes of the first half had an Inter Miami CF team pressuring the ball high, and maintaining greater possession early in the match.  Both teams were cautious, like boxers feeling their opponents out, not providing much of a spectacle for the fans.

As the minutes passed, the game opened up slightly, and there were some opportunities on both sides of the pitch.

Neither squad was able to take advantage of their chances, and the half ended 0-0.

The second half began with an aggressive Columbus team taking ownership of the match. The Crew stole the ball control away from the Herons, with a dangerous Luis Diaz putting Chris Mcvey in uncomfortable situations.

At the 64′ minute in a fast counterattack, Diaz scored the lone goal in the game putting Columbus up 1-0.

Miami and Columbus would continue the back and forth until the final whistle gave the Crew the victory 1-0. Inter Miami had some chances to tie the match, but alas it was not to be.

Postgame Press Conference

After the tough loss to Columbus, coach Phil Neville told the media that he knew the game would come down to a mistake by either team,

“I said at halftime to the coaches that it was always going to be a mistake, a lack of concentration, that cost either team the result.”

Neville’s premonition was correct, unfortunately, once again it was the Herons that committed the mistake because of a lack of concentration.

The Columbus goal found several Miami players out of position, for starters Robert Taylor was trailing the play which caused  Ryan Sailor to have to come up to challenge Moreira.

Ryan Sailor was just a step late, and Moreira was able to put the pass in behind a flat-footed Chris Mcvey. Due to Sailor having to come out of position to mark Moreira, Mcvey was left exposed with his back uncovered. Diaz’s speed was too much for Chris to recover, and this led to a Columbus advantage of three attackers versus two defenders. Damion Lowe had to decide whether to attack Diaz and hope his pass doesn’t get to a free Crew player, or hold and try to force a mistake. Yedlin was coming in behind Lowe, but he had another Columbus player out wide running free behind him.

Diaz did a masterful fake and put it in on the first pole. If Damion rushed him, Diaz would have more than likely passed it around him, and the next player would have touched it to the free player out wide who could have walked the ball in.

Damion Lowe was the last player who had to make a decision, and his hands were practically tied in an almost always no-win situation. We will never know what would have occurred if he would have been more aggressive and rushed Diaz, but I believe nine out of ten times the ball would have still ended in the back of the net.

Final Thoughts

Miami lost another pivotal game on the road, this time against Columbus Crew. The team looked like they could get a positive result in the first half, but let the game slip away in the second period. Every game from now on IS a playoff game! The last few games have been playoff games. The games get harder, grittier, and more physical, with less space and time to operate. The Herons need to step up their level of play immediately, no excuses.

Alejandro Pozuelo did not play, and Miami looked lost at times on the pitch. The Pozuelo effect is real. The Maestro controls the Heron tempo and flow of the game. A team should not be dependent on one player, but Alejandro is a different type of player. He’s a rare breed that “owns” the game.

Bryce Duke did not have a bad game, but he didn’t have a great match either. Since his Man of the Match against Montreal, Duke has leveled off with his play. More is needed from the youngster, it’s a lot to ask, but the “little gem” has it in him.

Once Bryce Duke was subbed off, there was no other player in my opinion with the “creative” characteristics to take the reins in the midfield. Indiana Vassilev was given the task, but he is more of a natural winger. George Acosta traveled with the team but was left off the game roster. Acosta’s skillset is the most similar to Pozuelo’s on this team. The young player has plenty of experience, the question is when will he be given his opportunity?

Chris Mcvey is one of the best players on the Inter Miami squad. The last two games have shown a shaky Mcvey, uncharacteristic of his play all season. This rest period should help him regain his form for Miami.

Phil Neville gambled and placed Nick Marsman as the starting goalie on Wednesday. Some fans have been vocal in asking for Marsman the last few games in which Callender has been decent but unspectacular. This move was similar to when Phil benched Gonzalo Higuain. Pipita responded by going on to be the best version of himself for the rest of the season. Callender is a young player, it will be interesting to see how he responds to the move by his coach.

The roller coaster ride has become bumpy, and treacherous. The team is still hanging on, but the next game MUST bring home three points. If Miami does not defeat Chicago, the ride could be nearing its end. Win, and the adventure continues.

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