Facundo Farias, A
[KEN] I can't imagine any team in any sport having a better free-agent class than Inter Miami's six summer signings -- which might be the case if you consider just the first July signing, Lionel Messi. His former Barcelona teammates Jordi Alba and Busquets are obvious value-added pieces, but then Chris Henderson signed three under-22 initiative players from South America: Tomas Aviles, Paraguay international Diego Gomez, and dynamic forward Facundo Farias.
The youngsters have a long way to go before they reach the level of their fellow signees, but early on they show promise -- especially Farias, whose creativity and skill make him a natural backup to Messi as a scoring playmaker (or a winger contributing alongside the captain). He showed great instincts and poise beyond his years taking on Melia 1-on-1 after Busquets' heads-up pass. Farias is going to be fun to watch for years to come, hopefully in the Pink.
[MATT] Reports were that Farias had the potential to be a special player, especially considering how young he is. The ceiling was unlimited.
In the first few weeks after joining Inter Miami, we really didn't get a glimpse of that. It took everyone else on the team to be out for us to see just what Farias is capable of.
Now, he has to find a way to be just as impactful when the whole team is on the pitch and not just during international breaks.
Drake Callender (D)
[KEN] Was he nervous? Drake Callender -- "loaned" back to La Rosanegra from the U.S. Men's National Team just for the Sporting KC match -- was uncharacteristically careless Saturday, failing to corral an early save that Daniel Salloi turned into the first goal in the ninth minute. He was not himself Saturday. I still hope he gets a chance Tuesday with the USMNT against Oman, but this weekend's performance won't give USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter great confidence.
[MATT] I expected big things from Callender after hearing he was going to play in this match... despite being called up to the U.S. Men's National team.
After weeks of outstanding play in goal, I suppose Callender was due for a "meh" match. Let's hope this was it.
Nicolas Stefanelli, C-
[KEN] Nico wasn't sharp which, to be fair, wasn't surprising since he hadn't played in more than two months. Stefanelli didn't play poorly, exactly, but he regularly made "complete" passes behind teammates, missed passes and passed to opponents. It seemed as though he hadn't practiced much with the other players on the pitch -- which he hasn't, having been out injured.
[MATT] Yeah, Ken nailed this. Stefanelli hasn't seen the grass for the better part of the summer, so there was a good bit of rust to knock off.
But, Ken's also right in that his performance against SKC looked like he hadn't trained with the team much either.
Dixon Arroyo B-
[KEN] This feels a little unfair, Dixon did his job Saturday. But, I have to pick three and, going over the list of players I haven't named, Arroyo seemed to have been the least involved. So, by the process of elimination, I'm throwing a solid defensive midfielder under the boss.
[MATT] Yes, we pick three here and yes, this seems a bit of a stretch to put Arroyo on the list. But, it is what it is.