It wasn't a moral victory or a victory for morale, but Inter Miami's performance in a 1-0 loss at FC Cincinnati -- it's fourth straight after winning its first two matches in 2023 -- had its bright spots. And one huge, familiar, glaring weakness. Here are my thoughts on Matchday 6:
1. Someone MUST create scoring chances. It's too easy to blame La RosaNegra's anemic attack on former MVP Josef Martinez, who has yet to score for Miami. While it's true that he squandered chances again against Cincinnati, he's been starved for effective service. It's difficult to find a groove when chances are so few and far between. Rodolfo Pizarro, Robert Taylor, Nico Stefanelli and Franco Negri need to threaten in the final third to give Martinez more space and -- when he finds that space -- they need to get the ball to his feet.
2. For most of Saturday's match, and despite its lack of quality in the final third, Inter Miami was the better side. The defense had been a helter-skelter mess since losing defensive midfielder, team captain and "soul of the team" (coach Phil Neville's words) Gregore for six months due to a Lisfranc (middle foot) injury, but against one of the better attacking teams in MLS the backline and midfield were poised and consistent. The game's only goal came on a corner in the fifth minute of first-half extra time when Cincinnati's Yorvan Mosquera beat Deandre Yedlin to a ball floated to the near post and headed it into the net. (It didn't help that Martinez failed to mark anyone, charging toward the corner from the space Mosquera ran into).
3. Drake Callender continues to make highlight-reel saves but also is showing improved positional instincts. Twice against Cincinnati, he ranged far out of goal to corral the ball and prevent easy one-on-one shots. Callender and defensive mid Jean Mota -- who must cover more ground without Gregore by his side -- have excelled despite the skid.
A loss is a loss, but I feel better after this 1-goal setback than I did about last week's 3-2 home loss to Chicago. We rallied from 2-0 down to tie the match, only to give away an embarrassing stoppage time winner against the Fire. The Men in Pink have no reason to hang their heads after tonight's match.