With a 3-8-2 record to this point in the season, it is clear Inter Miami has lots of things to address and work on.
Scoring off of set pieces is one of them.
Inter Miami is 13 games into its inaugural season, and one of several aspects of the game the expansion side has struggled with to this point is attacking dead-ball situations. Diego Alonso’s men have yet to find the back of the net directly off a corner or free kick, and is something the team is looking to get better at better.
“It is a tool that we have to keep trying to improve,” said Alonso in Spanish earlier this month. “I think we’ve had a lot of goal-scoring situations through set pieces, but we haven’t been capable of making a big difference. We did score a goal vs. Orlando (City on Sept. 12) on a second ball after a corner and … I think we’ve had infinite chances but we haven’t been able to fine-tune that.”
— Inter Miami CF (@InterMiamiCF) September 13, 2020
It is true that Inter Miami has come painfully close to getting off the set-piece schneid on several occasions. Leandro Gonzalez Pirez redirected a Victor Ulloa header vs. Atlanta United on Sept. 2 that went over the frame despite the centerback shooting from inside the six-yard box, and Roman Torres also smacked the woodwork with a nodded effort against the Philadelphia Union during the MLS is Back Tournament.
That said, matches are not won on almost. Designated set-piece taker Lewis Morgan and Inter Miami as a whole have been unable to capitalize on attacking dead-ball situations to this point, meaning the team has had one less way to break open opposing defenses and games.
“I think there are three fundamental things needed in order to score on set pieces,” said Alonso. “One is concentration and conviction, which I think is very important and something I think we have. Then the taker is very important and then the targets are very important.
“We have to be more consistent when it is time to kick and putting the ball right where it needs to go, and the targets have to enter the box, depending on the play and the zone we’re in, so that we can get the numerical superiority and have that advantage.”
Inter Miami could use that as soon as Sunday. The South Florida side is set to travel to play the Union at Subaru Park, and needs three points in order to have a shot at moving out of 13th place in the Eastern Conference.
The good news for Inter Miami — which, it should be noted, has been fairly good at defending set pieces — is that there has been some recent progress with regards to attacking dead-ball situations.
As Alonso mentioned, Inter Miami scored on Orlando City a couple weeks ago when Brek Shea nodded home a second ball. Alonso also points to the first goal Morgan scored vs. Atlanta United on Sept. 9, though that came off a defensive posture and counter.
All that said, Alonso knows there is lots of room to grow when it comes to attacking set pieces after producing zero direct finishes through 13 matches.
“My teams are generally characterized from scoring a lot of goals from those situations,” said Alonso. “We have to improve.”