Inter Miami CF (6W-14L-3D, 21 points) earned a valuable three points and kept a clean sheet tonight in a 0-2 road win over the New York Red Bulls (7W-10L-8D, 29 points) in the team’s first MLS regular season fixture in over a month, while also extending its current Club-record winning streak to nine in the process. Young Paraguayan international midfielder Diego Gómez and Lionel Messi scored the team’s goals, while Academy products Noah Allen and Benjamin Cremaschi recorded assists in the win at Red Bull Arena.
Inter Miami took the field for the team’s first MLS regular season game in over a month with several changes to its starting XI. Drake Callender started in goal; Allen, Kamal Miller and Tomás Avilés formed the back three with Robert Taylor and Jordi Alba on the wings; David Ruiz, Dixon Arroyo, Facundo Farías and Gómez started in midfield; forward Leonardo Campana led the team’s attack.
Summer signings Avilés, Farías and Gómez registered their first MLS start in their first regular season match since joining Inter Miami, marking the first time the three MLS U-22 Initiative players started at the same time; Alba also made his first MLS start. Goalkeeper Callender, meanwhile, donned the captain’s armband for the first time tonight as Messi and DeAndre Yedlin began the match on the bench.
Following a tight, defensive first 30 minutes, Inter Miami was able to find the opener in the 37th minute of action. Allen collected possession on the left side of the pitch after a clearance from the Red Bulls’ defense before sending a cross into the box for Gómez, where the Paraguayan midfielder settled the pass before finishing with a low left footed strike to the far post. The goal was the first for Gómez as an Inter Miami player, while the assist was the first for Allen in his MLS career.
The scoreline then remained unmoved in the final minutes of the first half for the visitors to head into the break with a 0-1 lead.
In the initial minutes of the second half, Callender made key interventions to keep the hosts scoreless. Notably, the goalkeeper saved two big opportunities from the Red Bulls inside the box, first sending a header from Omir Fernandez out for a corner kick with quick reflexes in the 50th minute, and moments later rejecting a grounded shot from Tom Barlow.
Then in the 60th minute, the team made a triple substitution, with Messi, Yedlin and Sergio Busquets coming on for Campana, Taylor and Ruiz. The appearance marked the MLS debuts for the legendary Argentine attacker and Spanish midfielder.
It seemed as if the scoreline was going to remain unmoved, but Messi once again added his name to the scoresheet in the 89th minute after a sublime team play that finished with the attacker finding fellow second half substitute Cremaschi with space on the right side of the box with an inch-perfect through ball with the outside of the foot. Cremaschi then returned the ball to Messi in the center of the box, who sent it to the back of the net to register his first MLS goal. The goal was Messi’s team-leading 11th this season, while he has also scored or assisted in all nine appearances he’s made for Inter Miami. The assist, meanwhile, was the fourth for Cremaschi this MLS regular season and his overall seventh this season.
Inter Miami kept the Red Bulls scoreless throughout the remaining minutes to win 0-2 on the road and keep a clean sheet in the team’s return to MLS regular season action.
"We have to win our upcoming matches. As long as we win a lot, our chances of being able to at least make the play-ins will increase. We took a big first step today, but there is still a long way to go” said head coach Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino.
The team will now head back to South Florida for the team’s next match, with Inter Miami set to host Nashville SC at DRV PNK Stadium at 7:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Aug. 30, when the Club will present the 2023 Leagues Cup to its fans at DRV PNK Stadium.
NYRB - 50.2%
MIA - 49.8%
NYRB - 13
MIA - 6
NYRB - 1
MIA - 4
NYRB - 10
MIA - 1
NYRB - 8
MIA - 10