Inter Miami CF (4W-6L-0D, 12 points) was guided to a 2-1 victory over Atlanta United by a brace from former Atlanta striker Josef Martínez, making him the fastest player to score 100 MLS regular season goals. The win continued the team’s positive momentum from last week, during which the team advanced in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and defeated the Columbus Crew on the road in MLS.
Inter Miami made one change to its starting XI from its win over Columbus from a week ago. Drake Callender started in goal; DeAndre Yedlin, Sergii Kryvtsov, Kamal Miller, and Franco Negri started in defense; David Ruiz and Dixon Arroyo anchored the center of midfield with Corentin Jean, Benjamin Cremaschi and Nicolás Stefanelli in front of them; Leonardo Campana led the team in attack.
Recently signed Academy product Ruiz started for the First Team for the first time, and was joined by fellow midfielder Cremaschi. This marked the first time two Homegrown Academy products started together for the Club in its history.
The first half opened at a tense pace, with the sides sharing possession almost evenly while feeling the game out. The game began to open up near the half hour mark, with Callender making his first two saves of the match, followed by Inter Miami’s own efforts.
Notably, Campana took a trio of shots before the end of the half. First, the Ecuadorian connected with a Negri cross, but headed the ball over. In the 38th minute, Cremaschi played conductor for Campana, pressing high and winning the ball before Campana attempted to chip the Atlanta goalkeeper, but it was saved. Then, before halftime, he fired a shot at goal from outside of the box that was blocked. Despite his efforts, the match entered the break scoreless.
Inter Miami made a double change in the 57th minute that paid immediate dividends. Chris McVey came on for Kryvtsov, while Martínez entered for Stefanelli, making his first appearance against his former team.
Mere moments later, the team drew a penalty when a cleared corner fell to Ruiz at the edge of the box, and the young Homegrown midfielder took a touch into the box and was brought down for a penalty. Martínez stepped up and calmly converted the penalty with his first touch of the match, scoring his first Inter Miami goal against his former team.
Then, in the 75th minute, Martínez made history. Yedlin started an attack down the right wing, clipping a touch over a defender and cutting inside before playing the ball towards the endline for Martínez. The Venezuelan striker latched onto the pass, sliding and beating the keeper from a tight angle for his second goal of the night. The goal was a historic one, making him the fastest player to 100 regular season MLS goals, doing so in 142 matches. The record was previously held by Bradley Wright-Phillips, who had done so in 159 regular season matches.
Atlanta was then able to shorten the deficit through a goal by defender Andrew Gutman in added time after the hosts went down a man, but ultimately Inter Miami held onto its lead to win 2-1 at home and claim the three points.
Heineken Star of the Match
The historic brace scored by Martínez to make him the fastest player to reach 100 regular season MLS goals earned him Heineken Star of the Match honors.
"Three wins on the run now. The way that we're playing in terms of our spirit and our togetherness is incredible, really. We obviously went on a run of six losses and we suffered a lot of adversity, a lot of questions, a lot of criticism. What I said to them before the game is that I think it made us stronger. And when you think about the last two victories against Columbus and Atlanta, I think they're big statements," said head coach Phil Neville. "We said in our team talk that today we were going to win for Josef and that we wanted him to score and that he was going to score...If there's ever going to be a game where a script was written, this was it."
Fan of the Match presented by Coca-Cola Zero Sugar
Inter Miami will recover quickly ahead of the team’s Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup match against the Charleston Battery on Tuesday night at DRV PNK Stadium.
MIA - 44%
ATL - 56%
MIA - 9
ATL - 17
MIA - 4
ATL - 1
MIA - 3
ATL - 7
MIA - 9
ATL - 13