Inter Miami Enter L.A.

Are you a believer now? Surely you have to be at this point! Inter Miami did it again! They proved that their Leagues Cup and US Open Cup runs were not lucky cup runs, but actually the sign of a team that just might be the best team in the MLS at the current moment. Miami shocked the world by going to BMO Stadium and doing the impossible. They went to Los Angeles and absolutely took all of their cookies. The Herons in pink defeated the reigning MLS Cup champions of LAFC decisively in front of a raucous packed house filled with A-list celebrities and a prince in the shadows of the Olympic Coliseum. This was no small feat. No team comes to South Central and beats LAFC like that. Inter Miami did. The mad fans of the LAFC 3252 were making a cacophony of cheers at the beginning of the game. The players could not even hear the whistle when the referee awarded a free kick for a foul. As the game went on the LAFC fans started to see and believe what they were witnessing, causing them to gradually drop their volume levels while Inter Miami continued to raise their playing levels.

The first 13 minutes of the game were absolute hell on earth for Inter Miami as LAFC came out with an energetic press that was just impossible to break through by dribbling or passing. This kinetic press caused turnover after turnover and Messi was getting very little service from his teammates on the backline. It took almost 7 minutes for Inter Miami to even get the ball over the halfway line on the pitch, but they did not go much further. Which is unheard of considering that Miami has been the best team in the league at possessing the ball and building up play from the back. It certainly was not happening early in the game, but tactically Miami seemed ready for this in game dynamic. Conversely, LAFC was creating dangerous counter attacks where the Miami backline defenders were overloaded and Drake Callender had to make several saves in one-on-one situations that could have completely changed the face of this game and the outcome on the table.

Chiellini looked like he was still in his prime with amazing passes ahead to his corresponding attacking winger that caught the Miami fullback flat footed a couple of times and forced Callender to make dramatic saves when Bouanga was played in. There was another opportunity with Carlos Vela streaking up undefended on the right side, but his teammate made a selfish decision and went for goal instead of playing the right pass to Vela for what would have surely been the opening goal of the match. Had that happened, the proverbial roof would have been blown off the venue and South Central LA would have been rocking. That’s not what happened. Instead, minutes later, Facundo Farias finished an amazing shot on target with a slide tackle shot that caught the goalkeeper off guard. The suddenness and audacity of the move made the goalie unable to guard the back post and Inter Miami scored the stunning opening goal completely against the run of play. The television commentator was busy discussing the way LAFC plays without the ball and then bang! Golazo! Miami with the early score once again.

LAFC felt like they would be the team to finally hand Inter Miami their first outright loss. Most experts and gamblers picked LAFC and who could blame them? It sounded like the right matchup for Miami to lose on paper for sure. However, they have to be believers now as well right? This Inter Miami team is no fluke. They are ruthless when they attack and finish clinically, wasting very few chances. Which is why Inter Miami constantly out performs their expected goal advanced metrics.

Benjamin Cresmachi is the real deal. Facundo Farias can ball. Messi is the goat. Callender might have the best mitts in the league. Busquets has been a dominant holding midfielder that is only being underrated because he is playing alongside the best player in the history of the sport. We can’t forget Jordi Alba, who has played almost every minute of every game since he joined the club. His defensive Chess moves and his contributions to the offense by bombing forward, cut back passing in the box, and finishing like a forward has been an invaluable part of why Inter Miami are beating some of the best teams in the league who have loads of more fresh legs than Miami who has been playing games every 3.5 days since Messi arrived. Up next for the Herons is Sporting KC on Saturday evening, but since most of Miami’s starters have been called up for international duty this weekend, the roster will be completely stripped down for that match. Which makes getting an unlikely 3 points at LAFC’s stadium on Sunday night all the more critical.

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