Inter Miami fell to one of the best teams in the league in New York City FC on Saturday (July 23rd) by a score of 2-0. Maxi Moralez and Heber scored the goals for NYCFC. The match also served as the farewell match for NYCFC star Taty Castellanos.
Miami has now lost three of their last four MLS matches and have picked up just four points through five matches in July.
Maxi Moralez put NYCFC in front early with a goal from a tough angle in the 12th minute. The goal had some controversy and drew the ire of the Inter Miami players. Santiago Rodriguez got a takeaway in the midfield, but pulled Alejandro Pozuelo in the process. The contact was not deemed to meet the threshold for a foul, however.
Rodriguez then played the ball to Moralez who was able to keep the ball after a tackle attempt from Ryan Sailer. He then megged Drake Callender on the shot to score from a very difficult, tight angle.
Inter Miami were comfortably beaten 2-0 by New York City FC
It's hard to put a lot of blame to Miami on this goal, Moralez did a fantastic job to keep the ball and then get the shot underneath Callender and into the net at a tough angle.
Heber then got the dagger for NYCFC in the 75th minute with a goal to make it 2-0. NYCFC had four men in the box and the ball was played in on a cross. The ball deflected over a couple of players from each squad before Heber dove backwards to get his foot on the ball and put it in the net.
Kieran Gibbs had a good chance for Miami in the 25th minute (which would have leveled the match at the time). Gibbs controlled the ball well with his body and got a shot off from just outside the box but it was saved by a diving Sean Johnson in goal for NYCFC. If Gibbs had scored then the goal would have been checked by VAR for a potential handball when he was controlling the ball with his body, but it was a good chance nevertheless.
Miami also had a great chance in the 37th minute, but Gibbs was once again denied by Johnson. He received a pass at about ten yards outside the box after a great run and he tried to one time it, but Johnson made the save.
Callender also made a nice save in the 81st minute to keep Miami's hopes alive late. Thiago Andrade took a strong strike from outside the box, but Callender was able to make the save.
Miami had another good chance late to get a goal back in the 90th minute. DeAndre Yedlin played a nice backheel to a streaking Emerson Rodriguez who put a shot in from about 15 yards out, but Johnson made a nice diving save in net for NYCFC.
Miami held possession in the match 53.9%-46.1%. With that, Miami held a very slight edge in passing efficiency as Miami completed 88% of their passes compared to NYCFC's 87.8%.
NYCFC outshot Miami 18-11 and held the edge in shots on goal 6-4, while they held the edge in Expected Goals 1.8-0.7.
Jean Mota had a quality match. He completed 90.4% of his passes and made two key passes (tied for the team lead). Gregore had another quality match as he completed 96.8% of his passes and led the team in duels won.
Gibbs had the two dangerous shots. He also completed 79.3% of his passes and tied for the team lead with two successful tackles. Gonzalo Higuain led the team in xG with 0.35 and expected goals plus assists (xG+A) with 0.4. He completed 78.6% of his passes and also tied for the team lead with two key passes.
DeAndre Yedlin was the other player for Miami with two key passes in the match. He also completed 82.7% of his passes.
It was a disappointing result for Miami (even though they were playing the team that has the best points per match number in the East), considering the hope that Miami and the fans had coming off of last weekend's big come-from-behind win. It also further brings into question the decision to play Barcelona in a friendly midweek this past week, and to start most of the club's regulars in that match (even if they mainly only played the first half).
Miami now sits 11th in the East with 13 matches to play. Miami has 25 points through 21 matches on the season. The good thing for the Herons is how close the middle of the Eastern Conference is. Miami is still just three points out of the playoffs (seventh place Cincinnati has 28 points) and are just five points out of fifth. Even just a good stretch of two of three matches could catapult Miami up the table.
Next up for Miami, they will host FC Cincinnati on Saturday, July 30th. That will be a huge match with Cincy currently being the seventh seed in the East (the final playoff team if the season ended today). It's a match against the team Miami is chasing.