Inter Miami winless streak reaches 10; young Herons gain valuable experience in difficult circumstances

Youngsters Noah Allen (32), David Ruiz (41), and Benjamin Cremaschi (30), with veteran Josef Martinez, show the value of Inter Miami’s academy.
Youngsters Noah Allen (32), David Ruiz (41), and Benjamin Cremaschi (30), with veteran Josef Martinez, show the value of Inter Miami’s academy. / Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

“The Kids are Alright.” Yup, it’s cliche to quote The Who’s Mod anthem when discussing talented young players, but Inter Miami finished last night’s 2-2 draw at D.C. United with five homegrown players and an MLS NEXT Pro call-up on the pitch.

These kids ARE alright.

If it weren’t for the imminent arrival of you-know-who and his former Barcelona teammates, the contributions of Noah Allen, 19, Ben Cremaschi, 18, Ian Fray, 20, and David Ruiz, 19, would be the major story of La Rosanegra’s largely forgettable on-field season. Edison Azcona, 19, another homegrown product, and Israel Boatwright, 18, called up from Inter Miami II for the DC match, entered the match as subs.

On the bright side, Inter Miami’s undefeated streak reached three with last night’s stalemate. Unfortunately, the third straight tie leaves the Herons winless in 10 straight and in last place in the Eastern Conference with 18 points, one behind Toronto. Montreal, one of five clubs with 26 points, holds the ninth and final playoff spot.

Cremaschi, from Key Biscayne, signed a first-team contract in December and has started 13 of the 17 MLS matches in which he’s played in 2023. The energetic midfielder/winger topped 1,000 minutes and scored his first senior team goal in the 59th minute last night, a beautifully taken strike after settling a pass from Robert Taylor. It was a great moment for the popular young Argentinian-American, but after the match he fielded more questions about Lionel Messi than his own contribution to the club.

”Did you have a Messi poster on your wall as a kid? Maybe you still have one?” Cremaschi good-naturedly said no, he’s never had a Messi poster, but yes, he’s always followed Messi and considers him the greatest player in the world.

“How does it feel to know you’ll be playing with Lionel Messi?” Cremaschi again says the right things: We’re all excited, especially me, to be able to learn from him and have him be a part of our day-to-day work life.

Look, I’m very excited for Inter Miami’s Messi Era to begin, but can we give these young guys their due? In an injury-crippled disappointment of a season, the kids have demonstrated that the Herons can identify and develop first-team talent. That’s more important to me than the MAs Brothers checkbook, David Beckham’s contacts and maybe as important as Chris Henderson’s deal-making wizardry.

The Messi Era may be the beginning of a golden era for Club Internacional de Futbol Miami; it’s great fun imagining the possibilities, but it’s also important to remember this experiment could be a very expensive flop.

Let’s hope ownership continues investing in its academy and player development. In my eyes, that’s a better investment than the Barcelona Alumni Club.Young Herons gaining valuable experience for struggling Inter Miami