Inter Miami CF kicked off the 2022 Major League Soccer (MLS) campaign with a point and a clean sheet against Chicago Fire FC at DRV PNK Stadium. The scoreless draw saw 11 players make their MLS debuts for Inter Miami, including Heineken Man of the Match Clément Diop, who kept a clean sheet in his first start in goal for the team. The team also debuted the Heartbeat Kit in the match, the team’s first pink kit.
Inter Miami kicked off its first match of 2022 with a starting XI full of players making their first official MLS starts for the club; Diop started in goal; DeAndre Yedlin, Jairo Quinteros, Damion Lowe, Christopher McVey and Academy product Noah Allen lined up in defense; Gregore, Mo Adams, and Jean Mota started in midfield; Leonardo Campana and Gonzalo Higuaín led the team’s attack. The match marked Inter Miami debuts for Diop, Yedlin, Quinteros, Lowe, McVey, Adams, Mota and Campana. Allen, meanwhile, also made his First Team debut on a short-term loan agreement from Inter Miami CF II, becoming the second Academy product to feature for Inter Miami in an MLS match.
The hosts took their first crack at goal of the 2022 season in the fourth minute; Higuaín slipped a through ball for Campana, who hit a low shot at goal from a wide area, but his attempt was saved.
In the ninth minute, a stellar play by Mota saw the midfielder dispossess a Chicago player in midfield with a sliding tackle, quickly get back to his feet and ping a perfect long ball to Higuaín resulting in a corner. Moments later, Higuaín hit a cross into the box that found a rising Campana, whose header stung the bar but stayed out.
In the 35th minute, Diop was called into action, making one of a few stellar saves, this time diving and catching a powerful long range strike by Xherdan Shaqiri.
Moments after Diop’s save, Mota pinged a perfect switch into the box for Allen, who calmly controlled the pass and fired a low shot across goal that went just wide of the far post.
Diop made two more impressive saves just before and after the halftime whistle. In first-half stoppage time, he left his line to make a save on Stanislav Ivanov’s effort at the edge of the box. In the 48th minute, he made a reaction save with his feet on an effort from close range by Kacper Przybylko.
The second half saw Inter Miami threaten consistently in transition, beginning with a 51st minute run by Yedlin that saw the referee blow his whistle for a penalty, but it was overturned after video review.
Just before the hour mark, Higuaín made a pair of standout plays; first he hit a spectacular cutting pass from a central area to the run of Yedlin down the right side of the box, but the ball deflected off the onrushing keeper just as Yedlin got a touch. Minutes later, Higuaín hit another cutting pass into the box, this time for Campana, but his shot went wide.
The hosts made their first substitutions in the 66th minute, bringing on Ariel Lassiter and Robert Taylor for Campana and Adams, marking two more Inter Miami debuts. The substitute attackers immediately brought additional life to the Inter Miami attack, consistently stretching the Chicago defense and driving forward with the ball. Notably, a pair of chances came to Lassiter; Taylor drove forward and hit a pass to the Costa Rican on the edge of the box, who hit a powerful strike heading for the inside of the post that drew an impressive save by Slonina. In the 89th minute, Lassiter took a touch off his chest and fired another threatening shot from the edge of the box, but this one went just wide.
Despite Inter Miami’s strong second half, the match remained scoreless through the final whistle, seeing the hosts keep a clean sheet thanks to strong performances from Diop, Lowe, Allen, Gregore and a number of other players.
Heineken Man of the Match
Diop was named Heineken Man of the Match after his stellar performance in his Inter Miami MLS debut, recording three saves and keeping a clean sheet.
“I think the atmosphere was incredible [tonight], the fans showed up for us and the atmosphere was unbelievable. The players were talking about it in the locker room, we really appreciated our fans support tonight, they really pushed us until the end," he said.
"I thought it was a brilliant game of fútbol," said head coach Phil Neville. "I looked to my left as the game kicked off, and it was incredible, the amount of fans in that north stand. It didn’t look like there was a spare seat up there, and the confetti reminded me of a Boca-River Plate type game.”
Next Inter Miami will hit the road for its second match of 2022, traveling to Texas to take on Austin FC on Sunday, March 6 at 4 p.m. ET.
Join the Heartbeat!
Inter Miami fans can join the Heartbeat of the club and secure their seats for the 2022 campaign by becoming Season Ticket Members. Season Ticket Members receive the best prices and priority seating locations for all 2022 home matches. Additional benefits include priority access to home playoff matches, interest free payment options, and discounts on season parking passes. For more information on Season Ticket Memberships, please visit intermiamicf.com/tickets.
Individual match tickets for each remaining regular season home match on the Inter Miami CF schedule are available visiting https://www.intermiamicf.com/tickets/single. Fans can also call 305-428-0611 to learn more.