We Can Enjoy Inter Miami’s Title, But More Work On the Table

Thrilling is an understatement, as Inter Miami claimed the first hardware in club history after an outstanding match with Nashville SC. Enjoy it, but there is more work to be done this season.
Winning the Leagues Cup was great, but Lionel Messi and Inter Miami still have work to do this season.
Winning the Leagues Cup was great, but Lionel Messi and Inter Miami still have work to do this season. / CHANDAN KHANNA/GettyImages

Every Inter Miami fan should be walking with an extra pep in their step today after the Herons beat Nashville SC in the Leagues Cup finals.

But we can’t forget the season isn’t over yet.

There are still 12 Major League Soccer regular season matches and a U.S. Open Cup semifinal on the table.

Let’s get into what’s left for Inter Miami

Oh, There’s That U.S. Open Cup

Apparently, this is the year for Inter Miami to excel in tournaments while faltering in the regular season.

Remarkably, the Herons find themselves just a win away from another cup final as they will travel to face FC Cincinnati in the U.S. Open Cup semis on August 23.

On the other side of the bracket, Houston Dynamo and Real Salt Lake will face off to determine the other finalist.

Inter Miami took out Birmingham, Nashville SC, Charleston Battery, Miami FC and Jacksonville to book a spot in the semifinals.

Before the Leagues Cup, I venture that no one outside La Familia gave Inter Miami much of a chance to make it this far, let alone defeat Eastern Conference-leading FC Cincinnati to reach the finals.

However, after a remarkable run in the Leagues Cup, it’s safe to say anything is possible.

After thrashing Philadelphia Union in Pennsylvania and coming away from Nashville with the title, Lionel Messi and Inter Miami have shown their road show is just as potent as it is at home.

But, to beat the Garys in Cincinnati, Inter Miami will have to follow the same playbook that took them to the Leagues Cup title: scoring first to put their opponent on the back foot and stepping up significantly on defense.

We’ll dive more into the semifinal later this week.

Let’s Not Forget About Inter Miami in MLS Play

Yes, we all know the Herons sit at the bottom of the Eastern Conference.

It’s been pointed out by us and every other media outlet charting their run through the Leagues Cup.

But that Inter Miami squad that managed just five wins in 22 before the Leagues Cup, simply isn’t the same as the team now.

Offensively, Inter Miami was the strongest offensive team in the Leagues Cup. They closed out with a tournament-high 22 goals — six more than the next-highest team (Nashville SC).

The Herons also had five goals outside 18 yards — the highest in the tournament. The next closest was Columbus, Portland and Montreal with two each.

Inter Miami also racked up the second-highest number of assists in the tournament with 21.

Remember, coming into the Leagues Cup tournament, Inter Miami managed just 22 goals in 22 games — so they equaled their total in just seven cup matches.

Might be safe to say the offensive problem may be resolved.

However, Inter Miami has a lot of ground to make up to book a spot in the MLS Cup playoffs.

They sit 12 points back of D.C. United — which holds the ninth playoff spot presently — meaning they need to make up 13 points in the next 12 matches.

Drake Callender
Inter Miami goalkeeper Drake Callender is mobbed by his teammates after stopping the last penalty shot and securing the 2023 Leagues Cup title. / Kevin C. Cox/GettyImages

The road won’t be easy as they have road matches at Los Angeles FC, New York Red Bulls, Chicago Fire and Charlotte FC on their remaining schedule.

Three of those teams are already in playoff positions.

It’s not going to be an easy road, but Inter Miami has made a 180-degree change from the team they were before the Leagues Cup.

So, anything is certainly possible.