New York City gave itself a chance for some redemption, while Inter Miami will be leaving Orlando with more questions than answers.
NYCFC defeated Inter Miami, 1-0, on Monday morning in the Group A finale for both teams. Ismael Tajouri-Schradi scored the 64th-minute winner to keep alive NYCFC’s hopes of a place in the MLS is Back Tournament’s knockout rounds.
The clash of winless teams struggled through a lackluster opening half as the two sides battled through the morning heat in Florida, but a hydration break in the second half helped give NYCFC some energy, and the New Yorkers broke through courtesy of an Alexandru Mitrita long pass that caught Tajouri-Schradi just as he slipped behind the Miami defense. Tajouri-Shradi’s excellent first touch to bring down the pass allowed him to stay ahead of Miami’s Nicolas Figal as he beat Luis Robles for the only goal of the match.
It was another disappointing day for the expansion team from South Florida, which produced the best chances of the first half, only to be denied by NYCFC goalkeeper Sean Johnson.
Juan Agudelo nearly gave Miami an early lead when he hit a well-struck header at goal in the 11th minute only to have Johnson deny him. Nicolas Figal also saw a strong header cleared away by Johnson in the 35th minute.
Agudelo’s frustrating day ended with a red card after drawing his second yellow card of the match in the 90th minute for running into Anton Tinnerholm at full speed on a restart.
NYCFC must wait for the results of the rest of the group stage to see if its three points from the round will be enough to be one of the four third-place teams to advance to the 16-team knockout round portion of the competition.
As for Inter Miami, Monday’s loss drop’s Diego Alonso’s side to 0-5 on the season, and with the schedule for the remainder of the season still to be determined, Inter will be waiting a while for another chance at its first win.
Man of the Match
Ismael Tajouri-Shradi delivered the game-winning finish and earns the plaudits.
Moment of the Match
Johnson’s save on Figal’s header in the 35th minute was a worthy choice, but Tajouri-Shradi’s touch and finish on the winner gets the nod.
Match to Forget
Agudelo’s day started off so promisingly with his header in the 10th minute, but he was largely invisible the rest of the day, at least before his late red card.