After playing 17 matches in the 2022 season, Inter Miami has finally signed a designated player. The Herons acquired midfielder Alejandro Pozuelo from Toronto FC for an $150k of general allocation money.
The Spanish international steps into the 10 role for Inter Miami, something the team hasn't had since the off-season departure of Rodolfo Pizarro. Pozuelo joins a playoff hopeful Inter Miami and could elevate them into the playoffs, as the ninth-placed Herons are just three points out of a playoff spot.
Pozuelo has easily been one of the best players in the MLS since his arrival in 2019 from Belgian side KRC Genk. He took the league by storm, scoring 12 goals and contributing seven assists in his debut season. His 2020 season would be even better, as he was named the 2020 MLS MVP with an MLS-leading 18 goals+assists in just 23 games. In 2022, Pozuelo put together four goals and four assists in his first 16 matches. Now, he makes his way to Inter Miami.
Inter Miami has long lacked a player that is capable of setting the forwards up for chances. Before one can understand how much Pozuelo will help Inter Miami's attack, they need to know how statistically bad the Herons' attack is. The team struggles with playing the ball forward, performing goal-creating actions and setting up chances in the box .
Alejandro Pozuelo joins Inter Miami from Toronto FC
Where Inter Miami will feel his impact the most comes with his ability to play the ball forward. Inter Miami's top two players in progressive passing, Jean Mota's 69 & Gregore's 53, have a combined 122 passes going forward. Pozuelo alone has 102 progressive passes, currently ranking sixth in the MLS. A team that once passed the ball back over and over again will have someone that can drive the ball upfield.
As simple as it sounds, the Herons just lack creativity in the midfield. Through 17 matches, the team has the T-4th least goal-creating actions (30). Luckily, Pozuelo is T-4th in the MLS in goal-creating actions (10) and T-12th in shot-creating actions (59). His 0.64 GCA per 90 minutes ranks 13th in the MLS. Inter Miami's creativity will surely improve with Pozuelo headlining the midfield.
So, how will he help Inter Miami score more goals? The Spanish midfielder is T-4th in passes completed into the box (37), setting up chances with the best of them. For reference, if you add Inter Miami's top two players in that category, DeAndre Yedlin (17) & Jean Mota (15), that equals just 32 passes completed into the 18-yard box. Pozuelo alone has shown more creativity than others, and will put the ball in the box for Inter Miami's young star to put home.
Now, the 30-year-old Pozuelo brings his expertise to Fort Lauderdale to team up with rising star Leo Campana. His ability to set up chances could elevate Inter Miami and the electric Campana to another level. While his statistics have dropped off a little bit in the past two seasons, the Spanish midfielder is still one of the best players in the MLS at creating chances. When someone of Pozuelo's level is in the midfield, everyone benefits.
So, in summation, Pozuelo brings basically everything that Inter Miami lacks in terms of creation. The Herons will surely be creating plenty of chances and scoring more goals under the guidance of the 2020 MLS MVP. In addition, Inter Miami should get back into a playoff spot due to the help of its new addition, and could challenge for the Eastern Conference title if all goes right.