Inter Miami CF (9W-18L-7D, 34 points) closed out its 2023 MLS regular season campaign and fourth season in the league tonight with a narrow 1-0 defeat to Charlotte FC on the road at Bank of America Stadium.
The match marked the close of Inter Miami’s fourth season, a year that featured a plethora of Club milestones, historic signings, team records, and individual achievements for players. The highlight of the year saw the organization achieve one of its main objectives since its inception, clinching the 2023 Leagues Cup title to win a historic first official trophy for the First Team. With the Leagues Cup win, the team also secured a spot in the Concacaf Champions Cup for the first time, as the Club is set to enter the 2024 edition directly in the Round of 16.
CJ dos Santos started in goal; DeAndre Yedlin, Tomás Avilés, Kamal Miller and Noah Allen lined up in defense; Gregore, Sergio Busquets and Benjamin Cremaschi started in midfield; captain Lionel Messi and Diego Gómez started on the wings alongside striker Leonardo Campana.
With the start, dos Santos made his debut for Inter Miami’s First Team after previously featuring for the Club’s MLS NEXT Pro affiliate Inter Miami II.
Inter Miami’s last match of the season presented an even matchup throughout the 90 minutes in Charlotte. It was the hosts, however, that claimed a narrow 1-0 win through a goal by forward Kerwin Vargas in the 13th minute.
"When we arrived, we had two competitions in which we had the potential to compete well: the League Cup and the U.S. Open Cup. We were also involved in a tournament where we were in a complicated situation,” said head coach Gerardo 'Tata' Martino. “Out of the three tournaments, one was won by Inter Miami. If, at the time of signing, you had told me that we were going to win one of the three tournaments, I would have certainly signed with my eyes closed.”
This season featured additional highlights, Homegrown midfielders Cremaschi, David Ruiz and Santiago Morales became the fifth, sixth and seventh Academy products to sign for the First Team. Cremaschi went on to become the first Academy product to start in a First Team match, and Ruiz became the first Academy product to score a goal for the First Team.
On the recruiting front, the summer was a historic one for Inter Miami, highlighted by the marquee signings of seven-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi, and legendary Spain and Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets and iconic Spain and Barcelona left back Jordi Alba. In addition, former MLS Cup winner and former Barcelona coach 'Tata' Martino took over as head coach and MLS U-22 initiative players Tomás Avilés, Facundo Farías and Diego Gómez also joined the Club in the summer.
Individually, several Inter Miami members were rewarded throughout the campaign. With the addition of the Leagues Cup trophy to his laundry list of accomplishments, Messi became the player with most trophies in the history of the sport with 44, while also collecting Leagues Cup Best Player and Top Scorer Awards with 10 goals throughout the tournament. Goalkeeper Drake Callender, meanwhile, was named the Leagues Cup Best Goalkeeper, and earned Man of the Match honors for his stellar performance in the final against Nashville SC. Additionally, forward Josef Martínez became the fastest player to score 100 MLS regular season goals in May. Lastly, several players also had major highlights on the international level throughout the season; Callender and Cremaschi received their first USMNT caps, Ruiz made his debut for Honduras’ senior national team, and summer signing Farías was called up by Argentina’s senior side for the first time.
The team also achieved a Club-record unbeaten streak of 12 in 2023, running from July 21 to Sept. 9, and hosted its first-ever final at DRV PNK Stadium in the U.S. Open Cup match against the Houston Dynamo on Sept. 27.
CLT - 39%
MIA - 61%
CLT - 11
MIA - 11
CLT - 3
MIA - 3
CLT - 4
MIA - 4
CLT - 13
MIA - 8