Inter Miami earned a hard-fought point on the road against Nashville SC
Coming off a thrilling 2-1 away win against the Philadelphia Union, Inter Miami went into their matchup against Nashville SC looking to keep momentum. With a lack of offensive options versus a solid opponent, the Herons managed a 0-0 draw.
It wasn’t pretty but there were plenty of takeaways from the match.
Same Formation, Different Players
Inter Miami was short-handed offensively when they headed into Nashville last Sunday. The team were without Gonzalo Higuain, Federico Higuain, Julian Carranza, and Robbie Robinson. That made the task of coming back home with a good result quite difficult.
Under Diego Alonso, Miami would switch formations depending on the opponent, while that makes sense in theory, in actuality, it left players confused as to what their role was on the pitch. Couple that with the communication issues and the lack of true identity, Miami suffered in many games last season due to Alonso’s lack of tactical convictions.
On the other hand, Phil Neville has the team playing a brand of football that makes them hard to break down.
Although the team was missing several players, Neville kept the same formation and same tactical principles that saw them beat the Philadelphia Union.
Jay Chapman slotted in for an injured Robinson, Rodolfo Pizarro did what he could at center forward, and captain Victor Ulloa held down the attacking midfield spot and provided support to Miami’s attacking front line.
Miami was able to neutralize Nashville’s attack all while keeping a defensive shape. While offensively this game was lacking, the Herons still managed five shots and created four chances.
Showed Heart and Courage
What was missing from Inter Miami’s roster last season was true leadership.
Oftentimes the team would wilt under the pressure and cave once they were faced with adversity. The game against Nashville showed that Neville has slowly begun to change the mentality of the club. No longer is Inter Miami giving up soft goals, or looking confused on the field. There is a clear style of play and the players know what they need to do.
The team defended as a unit and held Nashville who had 6.4 xG (expected goals) through their first two games to zero.
Last year, that would’ve been a loss.
Miami showed real heart and courage to be able to grind out a draw under difficult circumstances.
Inter Miami’s off-season additions went under the radar.
For all the mockery and skepticism that the Ryan Shawcross signing came with, the 33-year-old is proving to be a good decision. The Englishman was huge against Nashville.
He was calm, strong, and was the perfect center-back partner for Leandro Gonzalez Pirez.
Shawcross ended the game with an 89% pass completion, five interceptions, and seven clearances. His height and physicality stymied Nashville’s starting center forward Jhonder Cadiz, who was held to only two shots off target.
During the post-game conference, Shawcross even emphasized how important it was to have height in the backline:
If Inter Miami wants to continue building on the foundation they’ve set these first three games, having a solid defense, courage, and strong identity will see them be a tough team to beat as the weeks go by.