Leo, Not Lio Provides Magic In Inter Miami Win Over Sporting KC

Inter Miami Sporting KC


DRV PNK Stadium- Inter Miami sans Lionel Messi managed to keep the three points at home versus Sporting KC with marvelous performances from Leonardo Campana, who bagged a brace, and Facundo Farias, who scored the game-winner. Campana shined bright leading the Herons to the 3-2 victory while staking a claim for the starting striker role.

Match Kick Off

Coach Tata Martino made some necessary changes to the Starting XI with nine Inter Miami players on international duty. The most notable modifications were on the attacking frontline where Robbie Robinson, Leonardo Campana, and Nico Stefanelli, who was returning from injury started the match. Facundo Farias was tasked with conducting the midfield alongside Sergio Busquets and Dixon Arroyo.

From the start, Sporting KC looked like the sharper, faster, team controlling the action and pushing Inter Miami back onto their side of the pitch. KC midfielder Felipe Gutierrez ripped a left-footed shot that was blocked by Drake Callender with the rebound landing perfectly for Dániel Sallói to tap into the goal for the 1-0 lead 9 minutes into the match.

KC’s lead would be shortlived as goalie Tim Melia committed a penalty on Leonardo Campana in the 24th minute. Melia charged out to try and punch away a Dixon Arroyo lob to Campana and ran through Leo while also striking him in the neck. Leonardo lined up and converted the kick for the 1-1.

Inter Miami CF garnered momentum from the score and the squad pushed forward for the go-ahead goal, and in the 45th minute, they found it. DeAndre Yedlin, in a fantastic show of individual skill, took on the KC defender pushing the ball toward the end line and lofted a  magnificent pass that Leo Campana smashed past Melia for the 2-1 lead in the 45th minute.

Second Period Action

Sergio Busquets, the wily veteran took advantage of a distracted Sporting KC team and played an outstanding quick pass out on the flank to Facundo Farias. The young attacker dribbled into the box and stutter-stepped into a boom blast shot for Miami’s third goal of the match in the 60th minute. The lead grew to 3-1 and the game seemed to be in the bag, but it was far from being over.

Alan Pulido curled a lovely shot past Drake Callender in the 78th minute to shrink the Miami lead and put everyone in the stadium on edge. Sporting KC did everything they could to go home with a tie, but fortunately for Miami, it was not to be. Inter Miami held on for the 3-2 victory and added a big three points.


Coach Tata Martino was asked to comment on Leonardo Campana’s match against Sporting KC by a member of the media,

I think he played a really good game, independent from the goals he scored he had a lot participation in the match and he connected well with Facundo

Leonardo Campana is too talented of a forward to not be a starter in Major League Soccer. His brace against Sporting KC should be the start of his rise to starter for Miami. Leo played a good all-around game, holding up KC defenders on his back, making runs for through passes, scoring a brace, and even defending intensely. A repeat quality performance against Atlanta should be enough to give Tata an incentive to make Campana his starting striker.

Facundo Farias is a highly-rated young player for a reason, his technical ability, speed, and creativity on the pitch make him a difference-maker. I asked Farias if Saturday’s match allowed the rest of the Miami roster to show that they too are a big part of Inter’s winning ways,

Every game is important for us to show our value…We showed we can win today, but with them and Lio things are easier

It is impressive what Chris Henderson has done with this team under MLS sanctions. The Miami roster has proven to be deep and talented, filled with savvy veterans and rising talented youngsters. Facundo Farias is one of those rising talents, and he can be a difference-maker for Miami while he’s here. Surely, his future is in Europe, but his time here should provide some memorable moments in pink.

Final Thoughts

Inter Miami is on a roll, unbeaten in its last twelve games, the “Messi Effect” is real, but the “Henderson Effect” is too. Chris Henderson has put together a deep roster in the final year of sanctions against Inter Miami. None of it is a coincidence or luck, it was all by design. Henderson and his staff put together a plan to best navigate the sanctions within league rules and did a masterful job of recruiting talented players. Messi and Friends had been in the works for years, Tata Martino was a great get, and the three U-22 Initiative players have all proven their worth immediately. Inter Miami’s first great move was bringing Chris Henderson over to build this team.

The Herons won a tough game against a better-than-expected Sporting KC squad without nine of their core players, that’s a massive achievement. The rest of the roster proved that they are able to win MLS games when the team is in a pinch, kudos to them.

The question we have all been asking ourselves is, “Why is Leonardo Campana not a starter over Josef Martinez?” Tata Martino will have to ask himself that same question when Josef comes back. Personally, I would like to see Josef come off the bench.

The fantastic turnaround continues for Inter Miami and it’s fun to watch for the home fans, not so much for opposing teams in MLS. There’s been a lot of complaining about Miami, but super teams of the past in MLS didn’t receive the same criticism. I might be wrong, but it feels like the Miami bias is real.

Now on to Atlanta on the road, another tough test for the depleted Inter Miami team. I’d take a tie with a smile, a win would be fantastic.

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