Inter Miami Loses First Leg of CONCACAF Quarterfinals to CF Monterey

Inter Miami Rayados


Chase Stadium – A Messi-less Inter Miami CF lost at home 1-2 to CF Monterey in the first leg of their CONCACAF 2024 Quarterfinals matchup. Monterey scored two second-half goals to come back from a 1-0 deficit in the first half. Tomas Aviles scored for the Herons, while Maximiliano Meza and Jorge Rodriguez scored for Rayados.

Starting XI

Lionel Messi’s long-anticipated return from injury did not occur during their CONCACAF Champions Cup First Leg match against CF Monterey. Messi has been nursing a “minor” hamstring injury for about three weeks, a similar injury kept him out of several key games last season.

Coach Tata Martino started newcomer Marcelo Weigandt at right-back along with Nicolas Freire, Tomas Aviles, and Jordi Alba in the backline. Sergio Busquets, Diego Gomez, and David Ruiz manned the midfield. Robert Taylor, Luis Suarez, and Julian Gressel led the attack. Drake Callender with the captain’s armband was in goal for Miami.

Match Action

Rayados took control of the action early on and had chances to get on the scoreboard but could not finish on goal. Inter Miami scored the match’s first goal, as Tomas Aviles blasted a Julian Gressel low corner kick service 19 minutes in. Rayados had dictated the pace of the game but the Herons capitalized.

After the goal, Inter Miami settled down and began to control the match, Rayados lost possession and the teams went into halftime with a 1-0 Inter Miami lead.

Rayados Comeback

Immediately,  Monterey gathered possession of the ball and put Inter Miami on its heels in the second half.  David Ruiz placed the Herons in a bind when he received two yellow cards only four minutes apart, at the 61st minute and the 65th respectively. Monterey took advantage and tied the match only five minutes later via Maximiliano Meza.

Inter Miami tried to hold on to the tie with a low block line of five but it would be to no avail as Jorge Rodriguez placed a spectacular curving shot past Drake Callender.

Inter Miami lost the match 1-2 to a Rayados team that was given life by two crucial Miami mistakes.

Post Game

David Ruiz’s silly yellow cards undoubtedly played a major role in opening the door for Monterey’s come-from-behind 1-2 win. Tata Martino was asked about David’s sending off from the match,

It will be a learning experience for David, the errors made as a young player help for the rest of the career

David Ruiz is a young talented player for Miami who is in the initial stages of his pro career. He cost Inter Miami a chance at winning the match and going to Mexico with a lead. David probably feels terrible and is upset with himself for his lack of composure. Ruiz had been playing well and looked to be a more mature player in all aspects, including emotionally. For a moment, David lost control and he will learn from this.

Final Thoughts

Diego Gomez and David Ruiz are blamed for Inter Miami’s loss to CF Monterey. Both players have shown dramatic improvement to start the season and have been among the better players for Miami. Gomez has made a big leap in quality and doesn’t carry all the blame for the crucial turnover that led to Rayado’s game-winner. The pass to him was a bad decision in a complicated spot. Gomez had three Rayados players next to him, perhaps it would have been better to kick the ball up and out to Luis Suarez.

David Ruiz will have a long and prosperous career because he is a good player. He made a huge mistake and will learn from it. The fanbase should embrace the young player and not destroy him.

All eyes will be on Lionel Messi from tonight until the second leg in Mexico. If he plays, the chances of a Miami miracle increase exponentially, without him the probabilities of the Herons getting past Monterey are not great.

Inter Miami CF wants to be a big brand and an organization associated with winning. There is no better occasion than next Wednesday night to forge a winning legacy by going into Monterey and eliminating them against all odds. It will take everyone playing their best game, and the best player in football on the pitch.

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