After a six month wait, Inter Miami will finally have their home debut against cross-state rival Orlando City, what are the three key tactical battles for which we should watch?
For one, Miami’s early exit in the “MLS is Back” tournament could’ve been a blessing in disguise. With the extra added month off, Diego Alonso had more time to implement the type of style he intends to play in South Florida. Although the team will be lacking in actual game experience (compared to Orlando going deep in the tournament), Miami should be more comfortable in this game compared to the first time around.
As for Orlando City, the Lions are coming off a Cinderella run at the “MLS is Back” tournament. With standout performances from Nani, Pedro Gallese, and Chris Mueller, Oscar Pareja have done wonders with this team. They look defensively organized and offensively strong, and this game will be an excellent opportunity for the Lions to cement their place as the ‘Kings of Florida.’
With all that being said, what are the three tactical battles that we should be on the lookout for?
3. Keep an eye on Ruan and Chris Mueller
The right-hand side of Orlando City proved to be a very effective pairing.
The dynamic duo of Chris Mueller and Ruan wreaked havoc on defenses during their time at the tournament. Against NYCFC, both Ruan and Mueller had a fantastic game, with Ruan completing 77% of his passes and winning eight out of twelve of his duels, and Mueller being named Man of The Match by scoring Orlando’s opening two goals.
Manager Oscar Pareja has set this team up in a way where he can maximize the space on the wings to get as many players in the box as possible. In this hybrid 4-2-3-1/ 4-4-2, Orlando’s wide players (Muller and Nani specifically) are given the freedom to roam over the pitch so their fullbacks can get higher up the field with the hope of getting to the byline and putting in a cross.
If Inter Miami is to get a win, their wide players are going to have to be careful. If they stray too far forward and get caught out of position, Orlando will easily exploit that space in behind with the pace of their front men, and can easily punish them if they’re sloppy.