Inter Miami Loses 2-1 To DC United At Home In Javier Morales’ Coaching Debut

Miami DC Javier Morales

DRV PNK – Inter Miami CF lost its fifth straight MLS match Saturday night, falling 2-1 against DC United. Donovan Pines and Christian Benteke scored for DC while Ian Fray discounted for Miami in an eventful coaching debut for Javier Morales.

Kick Off

The first Miami Starting XI in the Javier Morales era had Leonardo Campana on the bench with Josef Martinez the lone forward in a 4-2-3-1 formation vs DC.

Five minutes into match action, Kamal Miller received a yellow card for a foul on Christian Benteke, who was heading into the Miami goal area. After a VAR review, referee Marcos De Oliveira changed it to a red card deeming Miller’s foul denied Benteke a goal-scoring opportunity, Miami was left to play a man down the rest of the match.

Coach Morales sacrificed Nico Stefanelli in order to boost the defense at the 10′ minute mark, and replaced him with center-back Ryan Sailor. DC United took advantage of the extra man on the pitch and put Miami in a bind with multiple scoring chances, but fortunately, Drake Callender was up to the task of saving his team time and time again.

Near the end of the first half, Callender made a massive save on a Benteke shot to ensure the teams went into halftime tied 0-0.

Leonardo Campana came on to open the second half replacing Josef Martinez as the lone striker for Inter Miami. Central defensive midfielder Dixon Arroyo would have to be substituted just a few minutes later at the 50′ minute with an apparent groin injury, Ian Fray came on for Arroyo and joined fellow youngsters Benjamin Cremaschi and David Ruiz in the midfield.

Adding insult to injury, Ryan Sailor went down with a leg injury and could not continue the match. Morales used his last opportunity for substitutions and brought in Chris Mcvey and Robert Taylor at the 55′ minute. Taylor came on for Coco Jean while McVey did so for the injured Ryan Sailor.

Donovan Pines opened the scoring for DC United in the 76′ minute with one of the strangest goals you will ever see. A DC corner kick was headed back into the far post where Pines extended his leg to nudge the ball toward the Miami goal. The ball bounced off Drake Callender then off Donovan Pines hitting the goalpost and getting pinned between Callender and Pine’s legs. Donovan, who was on the ground pushed the ball off of Callender who attempted unsuccessfully to prevent the ball from going into the Miami goal. A weird goal on a weird night was only fitting, DC led 1-0.

The Herons would continue to fight valiantly with an energetic midfield made up of two teenagers and a twenty-year-old. Unfortunately, United would get on the scoreboard again via Christian Benteke on a breakaway goal that increased the DC lead to 2-0 in stoppage time.

When all hope seemed lost, Ian Fray brought the crowd back on its feet with a beautiful blast from outside to make it 2-1 with time left on the clock. The score was Fray’s first career MLS goal, and it recharged the fans who were waiting for a last-minute miracle.

Alas, it was not to be and Inter Miami CF lost its fifth straight MLS match.

Postgame Press Conference

The inaugural Javier Morales postgame presser had a feel-good vibe to it despite a Miami loss to DC United. The coach acknowledged the effort his players gave in a game where they were a man down since the 5’minute of action.

I’m very proud of everyone

Pro sports do not lend themselves to moral victories, and Javier’s motto of ” No excuses” testifies to that, but the coach and the fans were happy to see a team that left every ounce of energy on the pitch like gladiators. Inter Miami CF has to win back the fans’ trust and it begins with playing each match with the passion they showed against DC United. A big part of that passion was the young Herons Benjamin Cremaschi, David Ruiz, and Ian Fray. They played fearlessly in a game that offered strange circumstances and obstacles to overcome throughout.

Morales wants his team to be gritty and tough each match they play, he expects it from them.

Sacrifice, fight, compete

The squad is expected to sacrifice their bodies, fight in each match, and compete regardless of the circumstances they are facing. If this will be the team mantra then it should be an interesting second half of the season.

Final Thoughts

Javier Morales made his MLS head coaching debut in one of the strangest matches you will ever see. It seemed straight out of a horror story, with unexpected twists and turns. Morales faced an early red card to a crucial defensive player, multiple injuries, a shaky referee, and an unconventional goal scored against his team. All this in his first match and he handled it like a seasoned veteran. Morales demonstrated that the grit and fight he demands from his team are a part of his own persona.

Benjamin Cremaschi, David Ruiz, and Ian Fray commanded the Miami midfield for a large chunk of the game versus DC United and did an admirable job. The future is now for these young studs, and they are only going to get better. They can be the core of a future powerhouse squad.

The Herons have lost five matches in a row and they need to stop the bleeding once again, in a season full of pain. The feel-good loss is out of the way, time to turn this season around, no excuses.

📸Credit: MLS

(Visited 130 times, 1 visits today)