Inter Miami earned a difficult point on the road with a shorthanded squad on Sunday against Nashville SC, keeping the team unbeaten through its first two away matches in 2021. The team also notched its first clean sheet of the campaign, managing a stout defensive performance against an attack that had started the season well.
Shawcross Shines in Full Debut
Ryan Shawcross made his full debut for Inter Miami, earning a place in the starting XI after previously making an important cameo appearance in the team’s come-from-behind win over the Philadelphia Union. The big English center back made the most of the opportunity, going the full 90 minutes and earning Heineken Man of the Match and MLS Team of the Week honors.
Shawcross was crucial to Inter Miami’s defensive efforts in the match, solidifying the team’s backline. He led the match in two crucial categories, topping both sides in clearances with seven and interceptions with five. He also led Inter Miami by involving himself in five aerial duels, winning three of them.
Shawcross’ distribution from the back was also instrumental to the team’s efforts in avoiding pressure; among Inter Miami players who attempted at least three passes, the center back led the team with an 89% pass success rate.
Ulloa Leads by Example as Captain
While Shawcross was making his full debut for Inter Miami, Victor Ulloa was making his debut as captain for the team. The midfielder’s energy was a key to the team’s defensive success as it registered a clean sheet.
Ulloa, who also played the full 90 minutes, led the match in possession recoveries with 10, and led Inter Miami by involving himself in a team-high 12 duels.
Shea Solid in Return
Defender / midfielder Brek Shea marked his return to the pitch with an impressive stint as a second-half substitute. He appeared in a matchday squad for the first time in 2021 after recovering from an injury and played the final 45 minutes of the match.
In just one half, Shea made his presence felt. Playing at left back, he involved himself in five duels – winning three of them – and tallied three possession recoveries, two clearances and one tackle.
Stifling a Potent Attack
Nashville entered the match as one of the most prolific chance-creating sides in MLS through the season’s first two weeks, but was stifled by Inter Miami’s defensive efforts.
In its first two matches, Nashville scored four goals, took 49 total shots (21 on target), and created a league-high 6.4 xG (Expected Goals), before being held to season lows in each category on Sunday.