Inter Miami officially launched its second MLS season on Sunday, taking on the LA Galaxy in a matchup 13 months in the making. The game ended with a bitterly disappointing result, but also produced excitement, attacking flair, and signs of a promise for the hosts.
For Inter Miami, Sunday’s match produced one of the most potent attacking displays yet by the Club; the team totaled 19 shots taken, a tally it only reached on three occasions in its inaugural 2020 season. Of the 19 shots taken by Inter Miami against the Galaxy, eight were on target, a number the team did not reach in any game in 2020.
The caliber of chance the hosts regularly created in the match was also reflected in the locations the shots came. Notably, Inter Miami took a whopping 13 shots from inside of the box on Sunday, compared to just five from the Galaxy.
Another way to measure the quality of the chances created is by taking a look at xG (Expected Goals). Against the Galaxy, Inter Miami created an impressive 2.56 xG, also more than the team managed in any single match of 2020.
The team’s players shined in conjunction with one another in attack, signaling a bright future for the team. Notably, Robbie Robinson, who was voted Man of the Match by the fans, Rodolfo Pizarro and Gonzalo Higuaín powered Inter Miami on the afternoon.
Despite being a natural striker, Robinson excelled on the left wing to open the season. The 22 year old netted his first professional goal in the match, which also served as the team’s first of the season. The goal, however, wasn’t Robinson’s only contribution to the match, as he showed a commitment to the defensive side of things as well. The forward pressed well and tracked back diligently, winning possession for the team six times, second behind only Nicolás Figal. Robinson was also a well-rounded presence in attack, stretching the backline with his runs with and without the ball, completing 90% of his passes, and registering 0.99 xG+xA (Expected Goals + Expected Assists), the second most on the team behind Higuaín.
Higuaín, meanwhile, created a staggering 1.38 xG+xA on his own. The striker, who registered a goal and an assist in the match, took six shots, four of which were on target. He also completed a team-high three key passes, tied with Pizarro.
The Mexican international was key for Inter Miami in the match, serving as the team’s engine. Pizarro was involved in all facets of the game for the hosts, compiling team-highs in key passes (three), successful dribbles (six), and possession gains (seven). He consistently drove the team forward, breaking lines with both his dribbling and passing.
The combative midfield pairing of Gregore, making his MLS debut, and Blaise Matuidi helped solidify the base that allowed the attack to thrive. They each won possession five times for the team, tied for third behind only Robinson and Pizarro. Matuidi, meanwhile, made four tackles, second on the team behind Figal.
While Gregore’s defensive contributions were vital, he also helped the team progress the ball into dangerous areas, making a team-high 23 passes in the opposition half.