It was not about the travel. It was not about the referee.
For Inter Miami, it was just about an incomplete performance.
Inter Miami suffered the latest setback in its inaugural season on Sunday night, dropping a 1-0 result away to fellow expansion side Nashville SC. The defeat saw Inter Miami deliver a subpar showing, one that included a flat start to the opening half and an inability to score.
It was a far cry from the outing Inter Miami enjoyed a week ago in the historic win vs. Orlando City, and left Diego Alonso’s side in the basement of the Eastern Conference with a 1-6 record.
“There were encouraging signs, but we didn’t get the victory tonight” said winger Lewis Morgan. “All the guys, we’re hurting at the moment.”
— Nashville SC (@NashvilleSC) August 31, 2020
Inter Miami as a whole acknowledged it did not play as well in the first half as the team would have liked, but dismissed the idea that the disappointing start was a result of having to travel to Nashville hours before kickoff, as is stipulated by the new MLS protocol for road games.
Instead, Inter Miami pointed both to a lack of focus and struggle to keep possession.
“I think in the first minutes we were not good with the ball,” said centerback Leandro Gonzalez Pirez in Spanish. “We would win it back and then lose it very quickly. I think we were also surprised a bit by their change in formation. They came out in a different formation in this game than they had used in their previous matches.”
A lack of creating clear scoring chances against a Nashville SC side that has defended resolutely for much of this season also hurt Inter Miami. The South Florida club had a tough time putting shots on frame, and that left the door open for Anibal Godoy to score via a rising finish in the 53rd minute.
The match was nearly put out of reach 21 minutes later, but Hany Mukhtar clanked his questionably-awarded penalty kick off the crossbar. Inter Miami made five simultaneous substitutions right after that and proceeded to hit Nashville SC with waves of attacks during the final quarter-hour and change.
“We had 16 shots against five playing as the visitors and that is without counting the infinite amount of crosses we delivered,” said Alonso in Spanish. “That speaks to the dominance of the game and the amount of opportunities that we had.”
The shot count was actually 18-5 in Inter Miami’s favor, but that statistic might be a bit flattering to the new Florida franchise. After all, Inter Miami finished with just five shots on target, all of which were stopped by routine saves from Nashville SC goalkeeper Joe Willis.
Not that Alonso concurred with that notion after the game.
“I do not agree that we did not have clear opportunities,” said Alonso. “I do not share that point of view. I can understand it, but I do not share it.”
One of his players did agree, however.
“Certainly we need to push ourselves to be putting away some of those chances, albeit (if they are) half-chances,” said Morgan.
Even if Inter Miami was not as good at chance creation, the team still felt it deserved more from Sunday’s match. Gonzalez Pirez called the result unjust and Morgan stated that he himself “did not feel Nashville were superior than us in any way really.”
Regardless, Inter Miami remains in a hole in the Eastern Conference that the club needs to get out of. The good news is that Inter Miami does not have to wait long for its next match, as a Wednesday showdown away to Atlanta United awaits.
Of course, the all-around showing will likely need to be better from start to finish if Inter Miami is to bounce back and grab a sorely-needed win.
“We need to look at ourselves and our own performance,” said Morgan, “and why we didn’t take the three points.”