TQL Stadium – Inter Miami CF lost their fourth straight match Saturday night, this time 1-0 to FC Cincinnati. Defender Yerson Mosquera scored a header off a corner kick in stoppage time of the first half to lead the Cincy squad to victory. The win puts Cincinnati in first place in the Eastern Conference and plummets Inter Miami to the tenth spot just outside of playoff contention six games into the season.
The Starting XI for Inter Miami CF had Josef Martinez and Robert Taylor return from national team duty to try and provide a boost on the attack for the Herons.
Josef is back ..Taylor is back .. Neville shuffles the lineup looking to get #InterMiamiCF mojo back..#allforcincy will show if Miami is back to contender or only a pretender #MLS pic.twitter.com/xiO8kbWZmY
— Xavier Guerrero (@XGLAVOZ) April 1, 2023
In the first half, both squads came out on the offensive creating chances in front of the goal, but neither was able to consummate the action.
Rodolfo Pizarro was fouled near the box in the 35′ minute and referee Nima Saghafi called a penalty for the Herons. Saghafi later went to check VAR and overturned the ruling to a free kick just outside the box. The delay caused an additional 9′ minutes of stoppage time to the first half.
Just when it seemed that the half would end scoreless, Yerson Mosquera scorched a header past Drake Callender off a corner kick cross from Álvaro Barreal. Callender was able to put a hand on it, but could not get enough of the ball to prevent the goal. Cincy would go into halftime with a 1-0 lead.
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) April 2, 2023
Inter Miami CF once again maintained the majority of possession in the second half with the squad moving the ball around the pitch and attacking Cincy early on. The Herons had the ball, but could only generate chances that were not very threatening to the home team.
Franco Negri blasted a left footed rocket that hit off the Cincy crossbar and ricocheted out of bounds near the 64′ minute. Negri’s shot was the closest Miami would get to scoring on Cincinnati during the match.
64' – Negriiiiii off the cross bar pic.twitter.com/FAV7nSFKtK
— Inter Miami CF (@InterMiamiCF) April 2, 2023
The Herons endured another bitter loss that plunged them in the standings, while Cincy won its third straight at home to rise to first place in the Eastern Conference.
Postgame Press Conference
Coach Neville received a yellow card during the match for letting out his frustration on the referee Nima Saghafi, and during the press conference, he was a little spicy too. Phil was asked if the team was “wobbling” by a reporter and he immediately and sternly let him know that his team was not,
“We’re a team that’s playing with so much belief, we’re a team that’s got great quality. The results aren’t going our way, that’s the frustration bit, that’s the bit that we need to stop. That’s the bit that we need to focus on, but we’re not a team that’s wobbling, we’re a team that’s playing with full of confidence.”
— 90min_US (@90min_us) April 4, 2023
If Phil was good at something last season it was keeping the team united and focused during the low periods of the season. Despite moments of negative results, the Herons always came to play and were a tough matchup for any team. Cincy won the match, but it got all it could handle from Miami, which in my opinion played well enough for a tie.
Professional sports are unforgiving and results are the measuring stick, right now Phil and the boys are falling short.
I’m not sure why Josef Martinez and DeAndre Yedlin had the assignment of marking Yerson Mosquera on a corner kick when he towers over both of them. I would love to know why one of the center-backs didn’t pick him up with the obvious mismatch in size.
Franco Negri has been playing at a very high level in the last few matches for Inter Miami CF. The Argentine left-back has come in and cemented himself as the unquestioned starter. It’s a shame his shot went off the crossbar, but it’s also a shame that the forwards and midfielders are not the ones taking those types of shots on goal for Miami.
Josef Martinez is in a terrible slump, and he needs to get out of it very quickly or Phil needs to make changes. Leo Campana is not available and the only other true forwards on the roster are Shanyder Borgelin and Jake LaCava, two young players lacking experience. Ariel Lassiter, Nico Stefanelli, and Corentin Jean, all can play forward but are more hybrid players and seem more comfortable on the wings.
— Xavier Guerrero (@XGLAVOZ) April 2, 2023
Bryce Duke has been asked to play out of position and it has hindered his performance so far this season. Duke is a natural attacking midfielder and is being used as a double pivot, or defensive midfielder. His natural tendencies and physique are not suited for that role and it shows. Benjamin Cremaschi seems ready to step in to allow Bryce a chance to play higher up the pitch or come off the bench.
Is It Time To Panic?
The team is in tenth place and key players are not playing great, while injuries have also hurt the team. Leo Campana has not seen a minute on the pitch, and who knows how serious his injury might be.
Josef Martinez can’t buy a goal so far this season for Miami, he either hits the ball too high, too soft, or something happens where he simply can’t score.
So many things going against Inter Miami CF and they are only 2 points away from the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference. I’m not panicking, yet. Eerily similar to last year, I’m going to wait until the midpoint of the season to see where the team stands. Let’s see what Phil and the boys can do in the next 11 games, they still have time to save the season.