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Grading Inter Miami: Alonso’s substitutions, Sweat struggles, and more


Diego Alonso made some good tactical adjustments on Wednesday as Inter Miami chased the game.

The only problem was that they came a tad bit too late.

Inter Miami was on the receiving end of a humbling 4-1 defeat to the New York Red Bull’s on Wednesday night, and one of many ingredients in the loss was Alonso’s reading of the game. The expansion side had pulled level late in the first half via one of its only real chances before halftime, and rather than insert Rodolfo Pizarro when the game was calling for it, the Uruguayan manager waited until after the Red Bulls went up 2-1 to sub in the Mexican international.

It has to be noted that Pizarro left the weekend win vs. Atlanta United with muscle fatigue, and was rested at the start of this one as a result. Clearly, not risking a long-term injury was a priority. It is the reason why the struggling Matias Pellegrini got the nod at the No. 10 spot.

That said, Inter Miami’s most talented attacker should have been on at the break to try and inject some life into an attack that was visibly lifeless in the opening stanza. Yes, maybe Pizarro was on a minute count because of his health, but the fact that he was turned to almost as soon as the Red Bulls scored again shows he probably could have come into proceedings 13 minutes earlier than he did.

Credit has to be given to Alonso for the M-M formation — or 2-3-2-3 look — he deployed when trying to push for a leveler. The tactical switch and more aggressive approach helped Inter Miami find more of the game and create more chances.

Still, the expansion team probably needed an injection of combination play and creativity sooner after a largely stale first 45. Alonso reacted too late and waited too long to make that happen, though.

Sweat Struggles

Ben Sweat has been one of Inter Miami’s better players as of late, but you would have been hard-pressed to guess that by his showing against the Red Bulls.

Sweat struggled mightily in the lopsided home loss, though it has to be said that two of the Red Bulls’ goals came late when Inter Miami was pushing and searching for a result.

Nonetheless, Sweat was directly involved in three of the four tallies Inter Miami conceded. He failed to win a crucial 50-50 on the play that led to the 14th-minute penalty, hit an errant ball under duress that evolved into the winner, and misplayed a pass to Pizarro on the final tally.

Sweat has alternated between being very hot and very cold in 2020, but he needs to start doing away with these types of games if he wants to be the regular starter long-term.

If not, Inter Miami may be best suited to go into the open market this winter to find someone more consistent that can replace him.

Robinson Not Ready

It was written in this space back in Week 1 that Inter Miami needed an upgrade at striker. Part of that was because Robbie Robinson simply did not look ready for the pro game, and Wednesday’s match did little to suggest that anything has changed some six months later.

Robinson came into the Eastern Conference affair in the 57th minute as part of Alonso’s aforementioned attempt to chase the game and find an equalizer. The rookie forward was deployed up top as part of a two-man front line with Juan Agudelo, but failed to make much of an impact once again.

What’s more, Robinson wasted a glorious 2-v-2 opportunity by hesitating in his decision-making. Pizarro flicked on a pass into the open path of Robinson on the play, but the striker took too long to figure out whether he wanted to shoot or slot Agudelo in on goal.

Of course, Robinson is young and he will grow and learn, but right now he just is not ready to contribute to Inter Miami. A loan move to USL side Fort Lauderdale CF would make sense in the near future, especially since he needs playing time and given that minutes will be harder to come by once Gonzalo Higuain is cleared to play.

Inter Miami Player Ratings

Luis Robles (5) — Had a couple of big stops, including one in the second half to keep the score at 2-1, but his former side still put four past him.

Dylan Nealis (4.5) — His intercepted pass down the right flank started the sequence that led to the early penalty, and he did not offer much in the attack before being subbed.

Nicolas Figal (5) — Left something to be desired on the third Red Bulls goal, and didn’t get forward as often or as well as he had in previous centerback appearances.

Leandro Gonzalez Pirez (5.5) — Good in the air and hit some nice passes. That said, he wasn’t his usual stellar self and also could have done a bit more on the Red Bulls’ third.

Ben Sweat (3) — Involved in three of the four goals given up in a nightmarish performance. His turnover on the decisive play summed up his night.

Victor Ulloa (5) — Sent a couple of good long balls into space on the flanks, but lost one too many 50-50s and was removed after 58 minutes.

Blaise Matuidi (5) — Made a bigger impact when Inter Miami became more attack-minded in the second half, but his clumsy challenge gave away the early penalty and defensively he wasn’t the best throughout.

Lewis Morgan (5.5) —  Tried to make things happen down the right and put in plenty of work defensively. Lacked some precision with his crosses and shots, however.

Matias Pellegrini (4.5) — Got the equalizing assist with a nice clipped pass that should give him confidence, but that didn’t mask the other 56 minutes of mostly poor and predictable play.

Brek Shea (5) — Was left waiting for the ball on at least a couple occasions out on the wing. Still, he wasn’t at his sharpest in the final third.

Juan Agudelo (5.5) — A well-taken run and finish gave him two goals in as many games despite being largely starved of service. All in all, though, this was a far cry from his most recent showing.

Robbie Robinson (4) — Wasted a golden attacking opportunity by hesitating with his decision-making, and once again did not make much of an overall impact.

Rodolfo Pizarro (6.5) — Immediately brought attacking ideas and improved combination play to an attack that was largely toothless prior to his entrance.

Jay Chapman (5) — Hit a pair of nice passes forward and helped in the build-up, but did not show much defensively.

Diego Alonso (4.5) — The game plan wasn’t a bad one and the team did okay when it executed his strategy, but his substitutions came too late and only after the Red Bulls reclaimed the lead.

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