The Resurgence of Inter Miami’s Offense

Leading up to the 2023 Leagues Cup, paltry would be a likely understatement to describe Inter Miami’s offensive prowess. Now, with the addition of Lionel Messi, it’s exactly the opposite.
Inter Miami's offense seems to have been reborn in the 2023 Leagues Cup.
Inter Miami's offense seems to have been reborn in the 2023 Leagues Cup. / Joe Raedle/GettyImages

In the first half of the Major League Soccer season, Inter Miami managed 22 goals in 22 games.

Yup, that comes out to just one goal per game.

That helps explain how the Herons have just five regular season wins in those 22 games.

It seems the fortunes have turned around, not just for the team, but for some specific players.

Let’s dive right in.

Paltry Would Be An Understatement for Inter Miami’s Offense

Their 22 goals in the first 22 games are second-to-last in the Eastern Conference, ahead of equally woeful Toronto FC.

Montreal and New York RB also have 22 goals thus far in the regular season, but the next lowest is 25 from New York City FC.

We’ll make mention of Colorado’s 16 goals, but that’s in the Western Conference, so we’ll stick to analyzing the East.

Of those 22 goals for Inter Miami, only Josef Martinez (6) and Leonardo Campana (4) have more than two. Ten players have at least one goal this season for the Herons.

Leonardo Campana, Sebastián Jurado
Inter Miami's Leonardo Campana attempts a shot against Cruz Azul in the 2023 Leagues Cup. / Hector Vivas/GettyImages

So, at least they can spread the wealth around a bit.

That might be the only positive in an otherwise dreadful 22 games.

Part of the reason for the low goal total is quality shots on target.

Only Martinez (17) and Campana (13) have double-digit shots on target. The next highest total: 6 each from Benjamin Cremaschi and Nicolas Stefanelli.

All told, Inter Miami has 22 goals on 89 shots on target. That means the Herons were converting on less than 25% of those quality shots on target before the Leagues Cup.

In case you were wondering… that isn’t great.

My, Oh My How Things Have Changed For Inter Miami

I was browsing the stats page for the Leagues Cup and was pretty astonished.

Inter Miami leads all teams with 17 goals. They also lead the competition with 14 goals inside 18 yards and three goals outside 18 yards.

The club is second in assists with 16 — just behind Nashville’s 17 and second in expected goals (9.16)… behind Toluca’s 12.92.

Josef Martinez, Andrew Privett
Despite not registering a massive goal tally, Inter Miami's Josef Martinez is finding a home in the Herons' new offense. / Hector Vivas/GettyImages

Remember, this is from a team with 22 goals from 89 shots on target in their previous 22 games leading up to the 2023 Leagues Cup.

Now they have 17 goals in their last five — an average of 3.4 goals per game.

Of course, we can attribute a lot of that success to Lionel Messi’s tournament-high eight goals — including all three outside the 18-yard mark. He also leads the tournament with 13 shots on target.

But something else stood out to me… attempted passes.

Of the top four players in the category, three were from Inter Miami: Kamal Miller (395), Dixon Arroyo (382) and Sergio Busquets (337).

It tells me that Inter Miami is learning to move the ball around. It would make sense for Miller to be on the list — he leads the tournament with 268 passes in their own half — but adding midfielders Arroyo and Busquets suggests Inter Miami is focusing on possession… keeping it, not giving it away.

This increase in passing is keeping defenses guessing on what the Herons are setting up. Couple that with adding pressure to just cover Messi and the Herons are creating a ton more chances in the opponent’s half of the field… something they consistently struggled with before the Leagues Cup.

The Resurgence of Robert Taylor

Of Inter Miami’s 22 goals before the Leagues Cup, Finland’s Robert Taylor had just two of those.

Yup… two.

In their five Leagues Cup matches, he has doubled that tally with four in five games — including this strong play against Charlotte FC:

And don’t forget about the pair of assists Taylor has in Leagues Cup play — that goes along with the four he had coming into the tournament.

A lot of his resurgence is due to the instant chemistry he has built with Messi on the pitch. He recognizes that teams are doubling down on Messi, which provides strong opportunities like this one against Atlanta:

His six goals so far this season are the most since the two seasons with Brann before he joined the Herons. Taylor’s best season was an 11-goal campaign with Finland’s RoPS in 2016.

It appears Taylor has been reborn and is on track to have his best season since his early days in the Veikkasusliiga — Finland’s first-tier.

Not only that, but the Inter Miami offense has found a rhythm it hasn’t seen… well… ever.

And I think it only gets stronger from here.