Inter Miami Storms Past Nashville SC In U.S. Open Cup

Inter Miami Nashville SC

DRV PNK Stadium – Inter Miami CF advanced to the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals for the first time in team history with a 2-1 win over Nashville SC on a rain-delayed Tuesday night match. Franco Negri and Nico Stefanelli scored a pair of beauties to lead Miami on to the next round.

Kick Off

Inter Miami’s Starting XI featured Ian Fray, an academy product making his first career start.

Nashville SC initiated the match being the aggressors sending long balls over the top of the Miami defense to create opportunities. Miami played to maintain possession and it was Nashville that came closest to scoring in the first half.

The sides went into the break scoreless in a match where Inter Miami lacked creativity or purpose with possession, often standing in blocks on the pitch with little mobility.

The Herons took advantage of a Franco Negri and Robert Taylor quick counter for a Negri lovetap over a charging Elliot Panicco to put Miami up 1-0 in the 57′ minute.

It’s Negri’s second goal of the season, his first in U.S. Open Cup play. Negri’s brilliant offensive display was dimmed by his lack of focus only a few minutes later on Nashville’s lone goal allowing an uncontested cross into the box in the 66′ minute.

A random yet common South Florida thunder storm caused a forty-minute rain delay in the 71′ minute of play.

Once play was restarted Nico Stefanelli blasted a shot by Panicco for the 2-1 Miami lead. It was a goal where effort and skill were displayed by the Miami squad. Leo Campana won a long ball from the defense and headed it up towards Coco Jean who sped into space to give a one-touch pass over the Nashville defense to a charging Nico Stefanelli.

Stefanelli made a brilliant diagonal run behind the Nashville defense, controlled the pass, and blasted a shot into the back of the net. Nico’s goal would be the game-winner for Miami and advancing the squad to the quarterfinals.

Postgame Press Conference

Before the presser officially began Phil came in joking about how the video clip of him lashing out at Franco Panizo the previous match was sent to him by so many people. Neville even said jokingly that his mother admonished him, causing everyone to chuckle.

Once he began his remarks, Phil emphasized how the team has faced adversity and suffered criticism but has managed to stay united and perform on the pitch.

The results have not always been positive for Phil and the boys, yet they somehow manage to continue to fight and pull off wins at crucial moments.

Phil also mentioned his desire and the team’s desire to make La Familia happy, he said that the supporter’s groups are the reason the team fights on the pitch each game. He might have said this to appease the groups which voiced their displeasure over Phil and even asked for his firing. Vice City 1896, and Southern Legion, the two largest supporter’s groups put out messages on social media asking for the coach to be canned after the loss to rival Orlando City SC. Can this family squabble have a happy ending?

Final Thoughts

Phil Neville has more lives than a cat, he survives the knockout punch better than Rocky Balboa does. The battered Neville pulled out a win at a crucial moment once again. A loss to Nashville could have been catastrophic for him after losing the Florida Derby to Orlando City. Phil the cat lives to see another day.

Ian Fray made his first career start for Inter Miami CF after a two-year hiatus recovering from knee injuries. The young player looked poised and promising in his time on the pitch. Quietly, Neville has promoted several talented academy players that can be the core of a future powerhouse team.

Franco Negri reminds me of the U2 song, “With or Without You”. Negri is fantastic on the attack, creating chances on crosses into the box and also ripping shots on goal, but he is a big defensive liability. His side is always attacked by the opposition and plenty of times he is caught out of position allowing goals to be scored.

The coach and the team had their back’s against the wall coming into the Nashville SC match, and somehow they managed to pull through with a win. Their reaction in these situations has consistently been to fight and claw to important victories. That has to count for something, doesn’t it?

Miami now travels to Montreal for a match against our old friends Bryce Duke and Ariel Lassiter with the chance to start another win streak. Hopefully, the Heron’s northern exposure is a positive one.

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