Breaking Down Inter Miami's Intrasquad Scrimmage....Again
With seven days before their season opener against the LA Galaxy, here's how the Herons looked during their final tune-up game.
photo credit: Inter Miami CF
After the cancellation of their final pre-season game against Toronto FC, Inter Miami held another intrasquad scrimmage. The game gave a good look at how Phil Neville will set up the team come April 18th. Although they were playing amongst themselves, there was a lot to learn from in this match.
Let’s break it down.
As far as the two starting lineups go, they were both a variation of a 4-3-3/4-2-3-1.
Neville was coaching the white team, while Jason Kries was in charge of the black.
We’re going to focus on the white team since they will be the presumed starters on the 18th.
Neville set them up like this:
The team played well, better than expected - really.
Of course, there was some rust, but you see the brand of football that Neville was able to teach them in such a short amount of time. They defended as a unit, shifting from side to side depending on where the attack was, and comfortably clogged the midfield so it wasn’t easy to play through for the opposition.
Last season the team had an issue with letting goals in from the midfield.
Neville seems to have fixed the problem.
A large part of why that area has improved is Gregore.
The 27-year-old will go down as one of the best signings this off-season.
Not only did the Brazilian seamlessly fit into Miami’s midfield trio, but he also proved himself to be exactly what Neville needs in order to play his brand of football.
He was an anchor in midfield today; interrupting passes, cleaning up defensive mistakes, and distributing the ball around the pitch with ease.
The centerback duo of Nico Figal and Leandro Gonzalez Pirez was solid. They did let in one goal, scored by Edison Azcona, but other than that they stayed compact, together, and were good distributors of the ball out of the back.
Expect Miami to be a very difficult team to break down this season.
Offensively, the team looked much more cohesive compared to 2020.
They may have lined up in a 4-3-3, but Pizarro was playing the highest of the three central midfielders. While not a true playmaker, the 27-year-old took Neville’s plans for him to heart.
He was everywhere today.
There were times where he would drop deep to collect the ball, dribble through several defenders all while looking to play in his teammates with a through ball. The Mexican will without a doubt be the heartbeat of the team this season.
Robbie Robinson, in his new left-wing role, pushed up and tucked in to occupy to space vacated by Higuain when the Argentinian decided to drop deep to help with the build-up.
He’s able to do that because both fullbacks, specifically Jones, are comfortable bombing up and down the wings to provide that wide cover should Robbie tuck in.
Here’s a tactical look at what that looked like:
Robinson’s speed and physicality made him the ideal candidate to be that outlet on the left side. A perfect example can be seen in the game’s first goal:
Inter Miami prepared the best they could given their circumstances. Physically, they do have a way to go, but the team does look ready enough to get a good result against the Galaxy when April 18th rolls around.
George Acosta: Came on in the 2nd half and looked solid. Great on the ball, very clean technically. Look for him to get a handful of minutes this season.
Edison Azcona: Absolutely fearless. He’s only 17 but easily shrugged off Nico Figal to get the black team’s only goal. Craque.
Aime Mabika: Also came on in the 2nd half. Started a bit shaky but grew into the game. Physically imposing, good on the ball, a threat on set pieces. Looking forward to seeing him get more minutes.
Did Not Play:
Jay Chapman, Brek Shea, Felipe Valencia, and Julian Carranza.