Inter Miami FC (3W-6L-0D, 9 points) was guided to a 1-2 victory over the Columbus Crew on Saturday night by a brace from Leonardo Campana, and a standout performance from Homegrown Academy product Benjamin Cremaschi in his first MLS start. The win saw the team hand the Columbus Crew their first home loss of the 2023 season at Lower.com Field.
Inter Miami made five changes to its starting XI from its midweek Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup victory over Miami FC. Drake Callender retained his spot in goal; DeAndre Yedlin, Sergii Kryvtsov, Kamal Miller, and Franco Negri formed the backline; Jean Mota and Dixon Arroyo once again started in a double pivot with Corentin Jean, Cremaschi and Nicolás Stefanelli in front of them; Campana started at the top of the attack.
Cremaschi marked a major career milestone with his inclusion in the starting XI, making his first MLS start just days after making his first start for the First Team in the U.S. Open Cup.
The young Argentine-American midfielder wasn't done making history upon entering the pitch, as he made an instant impact during the match. In the seventh minute, Stefanelli clipped a ball from deep towards the box, where Cremaschi connected with the pass and headed it into the path of Campana in the box. The Ecuadorian striker took the pass in stride and drove a low shot with his right foot past the keeper and into the back of the net for the 0-1 lead.
The assist by Cremaschi was the first of his career in his first career MLS start, and made him the youngest player to record an assist in Inter Miami history. Campana’s goal, meanwhile, was his first of the season, and Stefanelli’s secondary assist was his first with the Club.
Minutes later, Columbus equalized when Cucho Hernández curled a shot from the corner of the box into the back of the net to make it 1-1.
In the 41st minute, Inter Miami strung together a beautifully worked attack; Stefanelli played a ball for Negri down the left wing, who cut a driven pass back to Cremaschi. The midfielder connected with a first-time shot that was heading for the inside of the post, but drew a sprawling save. The rebound then came to Jean, who fired a powerful shot at a tight angle, but the keeper made another reaction save.
The pressure, however, resulted in a goal from the ensuing corner. Mota curled a delivery to Campana at the near post, who rose up between defenders to head the ball into the back of the net, claiming his second goal of the night and the 1-2 lead heading into halftime. Mota’s assist, meanwhile, marked his second in as many matches, his fourth in MLS this season, and his fifth overall in 2023.
The second half saw Inter Miami turn towards more youth to defend its lead, subbing on recently signed Homegrown Academy product David Ruiz and midweek goalscorer Shanyder Borgelin, among others.
Ruiz, who had featured in two previous MLS matches this season on short-term loans, made his first appearance since signing as a Homegrown Player on Friday. The Honduran-American midfielder came on to replace Cremaschi in the 71st minute, marking the first time one Academy product replaced another in a substitution for the Inter Miami First Team.
The visitors defended resolutely for the remainder of the half, led by Miller and Callender, and held onto the 1-2 lead to claim all three points in the difficult road environment.
Jugador de La Noche
Campana earned the Jugador de La Noche honors with his stellar brace on Saturday night, leading the team to victory with his first two goals of the campaign.
"I have no doubt that the tide has turned for us, in terms of we now have a group that is fighting and showing the spirit that they showed last season," said head coach Phil Neville.
Inter Miami will return home to DRV PNK Stadium for its next match, taking on Atlanta United on Saturday, May 6 at 7:30 p.m. ET.
CLB - 70%
MIA - 30%
CLB - 22
MIA - 9
CLB - 3
MIA - 7
CLB - 10
MIA - 5
CLB - 9
MIA - 10