Franco Negri demonstrated why soccer is called "the beautiful game" Saturday, scoring a lovely goal for Inter Miami in the third minute of first-half stoppage time.
The 28-year-old Argentine winger sprinted full-speed at goal, flicked a well-placed cross from Jean Mota out of the air and deftly to his right with his left foot to elude a defender and, after a couple of short steps to his right, blasted the ball home from the top left corner of the goal box with the outside of that same left boot.
The goal was Negri's first for La RosaNegra, first in MLS, and only his third playing top-tier soccer. He scored twice in 23 appearances for Argentine side Newell's Old Boys in 2021; he failed to score in his other 42 matches in Liga Primera Argentina (with Quilmes (12 matches in 2016/17) and Godoy Cruz (30 matches in 2022). Negri scored five goals for Independiente (2017-2020) in the Argentine second division (he played for second-division Belgrano in 2020-2021).
Negri also demonstrated his passing ability, floating a cross into the box that Nico Stefanelli headed home for the Herons' second goal, evening the match at 2-2 in the 76th minute. (Never mind the 2-3 final score, that's not what we're talking about here.)
The first-year Miami player also completed 88.6 percent of his passes and engaged in a team-high 14 duels. The all-around solid performance earned him a spot on the MLS Team of the Matchday bench for Matchday 5.
Negri has started the first five matches of 2023, playing 412 minutes. Inter Miami needs Negri to continue his consistent play while it struggles without a replacement for Gregore, the team captain and defensive "glue" at the back of the midfield who's out through September with a foot injury.
Negri is the sixth different Inter Miami representative on an MLS TOTM through the first five matchdays of the 2023 season.
2023 Inter Miami Team of the Matchday Honorees:
- Matchday 1: Drake Callender and Sergii Kryvtsov
- Matchday 2: Phil Neville, Rodolfo Pizarro and Jean Mota
- Matchday 3: Drake Callender
- Matchday 5: Franco Negri