Nashville SC Makes Inter Miami CF Sing The Blues In 2-1 Defeat

Nashville Inter Miami Defeat

GEODIS Park Nashville SC dominated Inter Miami CF Wednesday night to defeat the Herons 2-1. The loss ended their five-game win streak across all competitions. Miami could not keep up with Nashville’s intense, defensive rhythm and fast pace on the attack.

Kick Off

Coach Neville put out an interesting Starting XI against Nashville SC with several changes from the previous match versus New England Revolution. Franco Negri and Harvey Neville started as wingbacks while Victor Ulloa wore the Captain’s band as a central defensive midfielder. Robert Taylor partnered with Benjamin Cremaschi as an attacking midfielder behind Leo Campana.

Nashville controlled match action in the first half suffocating Inter Miami with high pressure and disrupting their ability to get the ball out cleanly from the defense. Victor Ulloa looked uncomfortable with the ball at his feet and failed to distribute quality passes in the transition from defense to attack for the Herons.

Current league MVP Hany Mukhtar made a run into the Miami box and settled a wonderful ball launched from the Nashville defense, Mukhtar then proceeded to fake Chris McVey out of his shorts to set up Fafa Picault for the goal at the 32′ minute.

Nashville would continue commanding the action up until the halftime break with Miami lucky to only be down 1-0.

Inter Miami made several substitutions in the second half with the most meaningful and special one being Ian Fray for Ryan Sailor. Fray made his MLS debut for Miami’s First Team after two long years recovering from knee injuries. The talented center-back looked smooth and entered into the flow of the game with ease. Josef Martinez was subbed in for Victor Ulloa to begin the second half, and just a few minutes later Nashville would get on the board again with Lukas MacNaughton heading a Shaq Moore service past Drake Callender for the 2-0 lead.

Dixon Arroyo annihilated the Nashville goal with a bombastic blast in stoppage time for Miami, but it was too little too late as the final whistle blew shortly thereafter. The Herons sang the Blues in Nashville 2-1.

Postgame Press Conference

Phil Neville did not mince words at the presser making his dissatisfaction with the team’s performance very clear.

First half was the poorest we’ve played all season. I thought we were timid, soft a little bit. In possession I thought we were terrible.

Could not agree more with the Coach’s assessment and I would go a little further and say it was perhaps Miami’s worst performance to date this season. The team was never really in the game and could only create desperate attempts at the Nashville goal until the fortunate goal from Dixon Arroyo.

Neville’s assessment of his team’s ball possession was also accurate and frank.

We didn’t keep the ball. We gave the ball away consistently, we didn’t have any composure on the ball. We lost a lot of duels in the central area.

Victor Ulloa did not have a good performance against Nashville while being tasked to distribute the ball out from the Heron defense. Dixon Arroyo was adequate but it is understood that neither player is the most fleet of foot. Benjamin Cremaschi is not a true attacking midfielder in my estimation but instead a box-to-box midfielder with stronger defensive tendencies. I believe his attacking prowess will improve as he gains experience and continues to develop. Robert Taylor is a Jack-of-all-trades but a master of none. The versatile Finnish International has had his best games for Inter Miami as a winger.

With all that being said, who was supposed to be the difference maker in the midfield for Miami versus Nashville? The player that made the most difference was Cremaschi, the teenager with the least professional experience. Neville needs to figure this out soon. Maybe he’s waiting until June to do it?

Final Thoughts

Neville has to make do with what he has at hand to continue battling for a playoff spot this season. Injuries are part of the game for every team in the MLS. Inter Miami is deeper this campaign than last year so Phil needs to find winning combinations from his player pool.

A proven playmaker in the midfield is urgent for Inter Miami to really contend for anything. The top teams have their DPs producing and leading the way for them. It’s not too late for Miami’s key players to step up and carry this team.

Benjamin Cremaschi is making the most of the opportunities Phil is giving him and will surely be a target for teams overseas like we have mentioned on our podcast previously. It will not be surprising for Drake Callender to also be a target given his consistently high level of play.

Victor Ulloa on the other hand has underperformed when allowed to play. It has not been his best campaign with the Herons.

Saturday night Showdown at DRV PNK Stadium versus the rival Orlando City SC.  Miami should come out very motivated as will Orlando, should be a great match!

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