- Gavin Rushnell
Inter Miami Match Recap
Orlando City finishes off phase one with a big win against Flamingo FC.
I'm baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack and I am SO ready to clown on the booty lickers. You know, I would've given them credit for actually playing well in this match had their fans not gone totally berserk at our stadium. Assaulting a mascot, throwing beer cans at kids (allegedly done by front office members), getting kicked out for unruly behavior, and celebrating a loss like you just won MLS Cup is not how fans should react at any match, let alone an away one.
That being said, I'll be nice. We are here to talk about the match after all so let's do that. Inter Miami yet again proved a difficult challenge for us, especially in the second half. They are just one of those teams that are hard to beat and they showed that again on Saturday. They defended well and kept us to only a few half-decent chances. Now, part of that was down to their physical play but it worked well... For the most part.
Their aggressive play eventually caught up with them when Nani absolutely rinsed Jorge Figal and was subsequently pulled down by the Argentinian defender. Our DP number 10 stepped up to take the free-kick and managed to put the ball into a dangerous area. Reyes deflected the ball past Robles and we found ourselves 1-0 up for the third game in a row.
Also for the third game in a row, we allowed an equalizer in the second half. None other than former Orlando City player Brek Shea rose to a great cross from Rodolfo Pizarro to head home Miami's only goal of the match. He then decided to celebrate in front of The Wall, something the fans did not take kindly to. He was promptly booed for the rest of the match.
After their goal, we bounced back brilliantly by quickly retaking our one-goal lead. While the assist and finish were both fantastic, the goal was pretty random. Nani picked up the ball in the midfield and tried to play a through ball to Pereyra. The pass gets blocked and falls into Mueller's path. He quickly finds Pereyra who then scores with an expert finish into the near post. We had a few more scares after going 2-1 up (the Schlegel one especially) but overall we did enough to see the match out without incident.
1. Everything else but the match
It's truly a shame that all the talking points that surround this match aren't about the match itself because I found it very interesting. The tactical changes from the coaches, the physical nature of both teams, and the commitment from both teams to push for a goal without exposing their defense were all very interesting to me. Instead, the biggest talking points of the day wee 1) the Flamingo FC fans acting up and 2) the referee's performance. We've already touched on the first one so let's talk about the second.
Elfath was fucking awful on Saturday. Robinson should've received a straight red for kicking out at Gallese, Reyes should've received a second yellow for the tackle on Ruan, Reyes should've received a first yellow for his push on Mueller out of bounds near the head area, and Figal should've been booked for that challenge on Nani that lead to our goal. I'll also add that he got the Mendez push wrong too, cause that was for sure a yellow card. Oh, and of course the VAR incident. How do you VAR a VAR check??? Like, aren't you supposed to check EVERYTHING before making the call on the field? Obviously that's not totally Elfath's fault but man, his superior will be talking to him about this performance after they review it cause it was a rough one. Elfath 1/10.
2. I just love that damn Argentinian
Schlegel is a fucking G. He's got that elite mentality that we have missed at this club. Yes he makes mistakes and can be over-aggressive but you can tell it comes from his competitive personality. The guy just wants to win. He does get extremely lucky to not be sent off but don't forget that he wouldn't have had to make that challenge in the first place had Carranza been onside. Also, for the people criticizing him, what else do you want him to do? Just let the dude score? Nah. I'd rather give Gallese a chance to save a penalty than let the opponent score a sitter. Maybe that's just me.
He also played very well. I've seen a lot of criticism for him and I am just very confused. Here's his game by the numbers:
Ball recoveries: 2
Clearances: 7 (most on the field)
Aerial Duels: 3/4
Yellow Cards: 1
He wasn't bad at all. He's no Jansson but he can easily fill in as a backup. It'd be a huge mistake if we let him go.
3. Mendez pocketed Miami's savior
It's pretty simple. Mendez played better than Matuidi. Not only did he do that, but his fantastic play was a direct reason for Matuidi's average play. Let's look at both player's game by the numbers:
Passing: 49/54 39/44
Take-ons: 3/4 0/0
Ball recoveries: 8 3
Tackles: 4/6 2/3
Mendez was clearly up for the battle against the World Cup winner and he came out on top. The young Ecuadorian showed the experienced Frenchman how it's done. The funny thing is, many people said that Matuidi would come in, fix Miami's horrible midfield, and then they'd be fine. Well. In the two games he's started, they've tied one and lost the other. Not much of a difference-maker thus far. Maybe they shouldn't go for the big names and instead go for the right ones.
Gallese - 5/10
Ruan - 5/10
Carlos - 8/10 MOTM
Schlegel - 7/10
Smith - 6/10
Urso - 6/10
Mueller - 7/10
Pereyra - 8/10
Nani - 7/10
Dike - 7/10
Michel - 5/10
Perea - 6/10
Akindele - N/A
DeZart - N/A
DeJohn - N/A
If you liked what you read, you can follow me on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. Please don't hesitate to let me know your thoughts on what I said. I really do enjoy having conversations with my fellow Orlando City fans about our team. That's why I started this blog/podcast in the first place.
'Til next time, this has been Gavin Rushnell and #VamosOrlando