Inter Miami: Brek Shea steals the show against Atlanta

Inter Miami, Brek Shea #28 (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
Inter Miami, Brek Shea #28 (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) /

Inter Miami get their first away win in club history beating Atlanta 2-1

Inter Miami fought hard and it paid off, beating Atlanta United 2-1 for their first away win in club history. The game started off at breakneck speed, with striker Juan Agudelo getting a goal in the second minute of the match. That was followed up by Atlanta winger Jon Gallagher equalizing just two minutes later with a thunderous left-footed strike.

Fortunately, Diego Alonso’s men persevered and got what would be the game-winning goal with Brek Shea scoring in the 11th minute. It was Inter Miami’s most complete performance, what are the three things that we’ve learned?

Has Inter Miami found their starting left-winger?

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Shea has received a lot of criticism during his short time with Inter Miami, but Saturday night’s matchup proved that Diego Alonso may have found his starting left-winger. Against Atlanta, Shea provided needed speed and ball carrying abilities that Alonso wants in his wide players.

He not only gave cover to Miami’s overlapping left-back Ben Sweat on the defensive end, but he also had the tactical knowledge to take up space up top if Agudelo dropped deep into midfield to help with the build-up.

Shea’s physical stature and quick first step cause Atlanta defenders headaches. Those traits were on display specifically during his goal where we saw him rise above Atlanta’s backline to head home Rodolfo Pizarro’s floated pass. Shea finished the game with three shots, two recoveries, a goal, and completed 83% of his passes. Expect to see the 30-year-old get more starts on Inter Miami’s left-hand side.

Blaise Matuidi: Human metronome

Inter Miami’s midfield has significantly improved since the signing of French international Blaise Matuidi. The 33-year-old has shown to be a rock in the middle of the park for La Rosa Negra and Saturday’s game vs Atlanta showed that he’ll quietly prove to be one of Miami’s most important players.

According to the pass maps for the match, Matuidi not only played the most centrally but had the most passes out of any outfield player:

Matuidi is Miami’s midfield engine. During the game, he linked up well with his midfield partner Victor Ulloa and showed the willingness to get forward to help out Miami attacking front four. He screened the backline well and was vocal when it came to the team’s organization. After all their struggles in the middle of the park, Miami has finally found their midfield engine.

Defense comes up strong, again for Inter Miami

Once a point of contention among fans and pundits alike, Inter Miami’s defense has finally started to come together. In their last five matches, they’ve only allowed four goals and had two clean sheets. This can be contributed to the center back pairing of Leandro Gonzalez-Pirez and Andres Reyes.

The pair have become a rock in Inter Miami’s defense and against Atlanta, their consistency was no different. During the game, Reyes and Gonzalez-Pirez had a combined amount of 10 recoveries and seven clearances.  Despite giving up the early goal to Jon Gallagher, the duo redeemed themselves keeping Atlanta’s attacking threat at bay for the rest of the match.

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This is also a testament to Diego Alonso’s coaching style. The Uruguayan wants all of his players to fight for every ball and to run tirelessly for 90 minutes. Which each game that’s played Inter Miami’s backline continues to gel together and show their quality as a defensive unit. If Miami can continue to have these types of performances, perhaps sneaking into the playoffs isn’t a pipe dream.