Inter Miami CF earned a 2-1 win over Nashville SC on Tuesday night to advance to the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals, the furthest stage the Club has reached in its two Open Cup campaigns. The team was guided to victory by goals from Franco Negri and second-half substitute Nicolás Stefanelli.
Inter Miami entered the match with a starting XI featuring a notable first-time inclusion. Drake Callender started in goal; captain DeAndre Yedlin, Sergii Kryvtsov, Kamal Miller and Negri formed the team’s back four; Dixon Arroyo and Ian Fray lined up at the base of midfield with Robert Taylor and Corentin Jean in front of them; Josef Martínez and Leonardo Campana started as the team’s two strikers.
Fray’s inclusion in the starting XI marked his first start for Inter Miami’s First Team, and made him the third Academy product to start a match for the First Team this season. Fray joined midfielders Benjamin Cremaschi and David Ruiz; defender Noah Allen has also featured for the First Team this season.
Inter Miami controlled possession throughout the first half and defended firmly at the back. Notably, in the 36th minute, Callender made a crucial low save with his left hand to redirect a shot off the fat post. Then, after Nashville collected the rebound, Yedlin stepped in to make a goal-saving block on the follow-up shot, keeping the match scoreless heading into halftime.
Early in the second half the hosts capitalized on the team’s control of possession, finding the back of the net to take the lead. Taylor drove down the left wing and connected with Negri, slipping him into the box with a through ball. The Argentine left back then deftly dinked a shot over the onrushing keeper to make it 1-0. The goal was Negri’s second for Inter Miami and first in the U.S. Open Cup, while the assist marked Taylor’s first of the season.
In the 66th minute, Nashville hit back and equalized when Laurence Wyke delivered a cross to the run of Alex Muyl in front of goal, where he connected with a header to make it 1-1.
The match then entered a weather delay that lasted nearly 40 minutes. Upon the restart, Neville brought on Stefanelli for Taylor in a move that paid immediate dividends; in the 73rd minute, Jean latched onto a ball in the air and volleyed it in behind for Stefanelli, who connected with the pass for his first touch of the match, and struck past the keeper at the near post to reclaim the lead. The goal also marked Stefanelli’s second for Inter Miami and first in the U.S. Open Cup, while the assist marked Jean’s first of the season.
"I thought the guys enjoyed the cup atmosphere...What we're really focusing on trying to create with this football club, is to get a trophy. That's the challenge for us," said head coach Phil Neville. "I don’t think anyone can question the character, the belief, and spirit of this team and this football club.”
Next U.S. Open Cup Battle
The Inter Miami First Team is now three wins away from lifting its first trophy. Next the team will play on the road in the quarterfinals of the U.S. Open Cup on June 6 or 7 against the winner of the Round of 16 matchup between USL Championship side Birmingham Legion FC and Charlotte FC on Wednesday, May 23.
MIA - 53%
NSH - 47%
MIA - 7
NSH - 14
MIA - 3
NSH - 0
MIA - 4
NSH - 6
MIA - 12
NSH - 16