Atlanta, Ga – On Sunday afternoon Inter Miami CF returned to MLS action against Atlanta United at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The Herons looked rusty after the international break and promptly lost 2-0, playing the majority of the match with 10 men.
Just four minutes into the action Miami was down 1-0. An errant backward pass from Robert Taylor was cut off by Josef Martinez, who then passed the ball to a charging Luiz Araujo. Araujo fired a left-footed blast past a diving drake Callender for the goal. Jean Mota was booked with his second yellow and sent off at the 28’minute leaving Miami a player down. The Herons continued to battle going into the half down 1-0.
What a CURLER from Araújo 💫🇧🇷 pic.twitter.com/RzeRUoeKZu
— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) June 19, 2022
Atlanta maintained possession most of the second half, with Inter Miami creating some opportunities on counterattacks. Caleb Wiley dribbled into the Miami box, cut in and fired a missile that Drake Callender parried to the side. The rebound landed on Luiz Araujo’s feet on the left-wing, and Araujo made a subtle pass to Josef Martinez for the banger at the 60’ minute. Martinez’s powerful shot left Callender unable to react. Atlanta went up 2-0 and held on the rest of the match for the victory.
— 90min_US (@90min_us) June 20, 2022
Post Match Press Conference
Coach Phil Neville was disappointed, as expected with the Inter Miami defeat. The coach felt the team did not have the same pizazz as they did before the break,
”I felt we looked a little bit rusty.”
The international break, along with the absence of typical starters Gregore and Robbie Robinson were contributing factors to the level of play for Miami. Gregore, the team captain, was providing quality and muscle in the midfield for the Herons, while Robbie was a constant menace on the wings. No excuses are being made on my part, I just think in this game those were two big factors in Miami’s performance.
Phil Neville on focusing on the next match vs Minnesota United at home. pic.twitter.com/wnkqGCXBNZ
— Inter Miami CF (@InterMiamiCF) June 19, 2022
Not the desired result for Miami, but not a backbreaker either. Miami was down a goal early because of a silly mistake, had a player sent off, and was missing two starters. This takes a toll on a team. Despite all the adverse circumstances, the Herons went down fighting, showing heart and grit.
The sloppy passing and silly fouls need to be addressed. Whether it be because of a lack of focus or concentration, the players cannot put their team in a bind like that. Robert Taylor and Jean Mota are two of the more technical players on the team, and as such, they should not be the ones committing these acts.
Robbie Robinson’s injury is a big loss for Miami. He was having a good start to the season and once again he is hurt. Indiana Vassilev, Emerson Rodriguez, and Robert Taylor have a golden opportunity to become the regular starter on the wing alongside Lassiter and Campana. It will be fascinating to see if any of them can stake a claim for the spot.
The loss against Atlanta United will be forgotten if Inter Miami takes care of business at home Saturday night against Minnesota United. A loss will sound the alarms once again in this roller coaster of a season thus far.