Inter Miami

Fort Lauderdale, FL – Inter Miami ended their 2021 season bitterly disappointed.

Though the South Florida club came into the league looking to have ‘Atlanta United-esque’ success, so far, it’s fallen short of lofty expectations.

Sanctions and underperforming Designated Players plagued what was supposed to be a bounce-back season for the Herons.

Instead of finishing in a Top 4 spot like Managing Owner Jorge Mas wanted, the team went on several losing streaks that had them flounder at the bottom of the Eastern Conference.

As their 3-1 loss to NYCFC saw them eliminated from playoff contention, Miami shifted focus to 2022:

Before we look towards next season, let’s take a look back at 2021 and see how well the squad fared.

Criteria

This list will go back and look at every Inter Miami CF player that logged over 100 minutes this season.

We’ll see which games they had the most impact in and give them an average score on how well (or poorly) they did over the year.

Goalkeepers

Nick Marsman:

When Nick Marsman came to Inter Miami, he immediately cemented his spot as GK1. The 31-year-old’s composure and ability to play out of the back gave Miami an extra outfield player. With a full offseason of rest and recovery, expect Marsman to be even better than his 2021 self.

  • Played 1,919 minutes
  • Impact game: August 27th vs Orlando City.
  • Average season rating: 7.5

John McCarthy:

Before Nick Marsman got to South Florida, McCarthy was Miami’s starter. Though he may have had his moments, given Neville’s tendency to want to play out of the back, McCarthy’s limited passing range was ultimately his downfall.

He will not be returning to Inter Miami in 2022.

  • Played 1,051 minutes
  • Impact game: May 2nd vs Nashville SC
  • Average season rating: 6.1

Dylan Castanheira:

Did not play for the first team. He will not be returning to Inter Miami in 2022.

Drake Callendar:

Did not play for the first team.

Defenders

Centerbacks:

Ventura Alvarado:

Only played 14 minutes. He will not be returning to Inter Miami.

Aime Mabika

Although he spent most of his season playing for Fort Lauderdale CF, due to the league’s hardship rule, Aime Mabika got the opportunity to start two MLS matches. He looked calm under pressure and showed he has the ability to make the jump up to the first team.

  • Played 180 minutes
  • Impact game: October 2nd vs the New York Red Bulls:

  • Average season rating: Did not play enough to have a rating.

Ryan Shawcross:

Ryan Shawcross was thought to be the answer to Inter Miami’s defensive woes last season. Unfortunately due to his age and injury history, the acquisition of the 34-year-old proved to be a dud. While he appeared to be a pleasant lockerroom presence, his salary and injury record will probably see him leave the club in the offseason.

  • Played 818 minutes
  • Impact game: May 2nd vs Nashville SC
  • Average season rating: 5.9

Nico Figal:

Without a doubt, Nico Figal has been one of Miami’s most important center-backs. His versatility and fearlessness were both a blessing and curse for the Herons. Although he’s a strong defender, his habit of racking up cards hurt Miami in the long run.

There are a couple of transfer rumors regarding his future at Inter Miami. It remains to be seen if he will return next season.

  • Played 1,920 minutes
  • Impact game: September 4th vs FC Cincinnati
  • Average season rating: 7.4

Christian Makoun:

Inter Miami’s most improved player award should go to Christian Makoun. Makoun, alongside Figal, was a big reason why Miami was able to go on a 6 game unbeaten streak from August to mid-September. The 21-year-old has shown that he’s able to become one of the best defenders in the league.

Let’s hope he continues that form into 2022.

  • Played 1,932 minutes
  • Impact game: October 20 vs Toronto FC
  • Average season rating: 7.5

Leandro Gonzalez-Pirez:

Logging the most minutes out of all the defenders, Leandro Gonzalez-Pirez had an up and down season.  Although he is prone to a mistake every once in a while, when he’s on his game, he has shown that he’s capable of putting in MOTM performances:

That being said, he did break the MLS record for most yellow cards in a single season which isn’t a good look. Overall he had a solid season but it remains to be seen if he will return next season.

LGP has said he’d like to return.

  • Played 2,565 minutes
  • Impact game: October 3rd vs Portland Timbers
  • Average season rating: 7.3

Fullbacks:

Sami Guediri:

Guediri played sparingly throughout 2021 mainly because he was starting for Fort Lauderdale CF. As injuries started to pile on at the end of the season, the 24-year-old got his chance to get some game time:

If Miami picks up his option for 2022, expect him to get more time on the pitch next year.

UPDATE: He will not be returning to Inter Miami next season.

  • Played 210 minutes
  • Impact game: October 16th vs Columbus Crew
  • Average season rating: Did not play enough to have a rating.

Joevin Jones:

Jones came to Miami when the club was desperately looking for a left-back.

He filled in at left wing for a period of time and did a serviceable job at full-back. When Kieran Gibbs came into the fold he lost that spot. Unfortunately, Jones didn’t have the opportunity to fight for it back due to a long-term knee injury that kept him out for the season.

It remains to be seen if he will return next year.

  • Played 519 minutes
  • Impact game: May 9th vs Atlanta United
  • Average season rating: 6.3

Kieran Gibbs:

Gibbs was an immediate upgrade at a position that has been a merry-go-round for Inter Miami. However, the club acquiring an injury-prone 32-year-old at a spot that needed solidity was not a good look.

For all the good he has done, Miami should look to get a younger, less injury-prone full-back just in case Gibbs is out for extended periods of time next season.

  • Played 693 minutes
  • Impact game: August 4th vs Orlando City
  • Average season rating: 6.7

Kelvin Leerdam:

Leerdam had a decent year. But as the team started to lose, his form began to dip. He did a serviceable job at right-back, but eventually, he got benched in favor of Lewis Morgan and his incredible work rate.

As Miami starts to go younger – Leerdam, alongside several other players over the age of 30, will probably not return to the club.

UPDATE: He will not be returning to Inter Miami.

  • Played 1,689 minutes
  • Impact game: October 20th vs Toronto Fc
  • Average season rating: 6.4

Brek Shea:

Brek Shea is a fan favorite. Phil Neville has even spoken about Shea and the brightness he brings to the locker room. Not only is he pleasant to be around, but he’s also been a swiss army knife for Miami when the team was crippled by injures.

His ability to play as a winger, wingback and fullback made him a valuable member of the squad.

He is out of contract at the end of the season, and it remains to be seen if Miami will return his services.

  • Played 1,586 minutes
  • Impact game: September 4th vs FC Cincinnati
  • Average season rating: 6.6

Midfielders

Blaise Matuidi:

From the get-go, the acquisition of Blaise Matuidi was short-sided. Not only has he been regressing, but Miami also broke the rules in order to sign him. At his age, signing Matuidi as a DP was a low soccer IQ move. He is not mobile enough to play his position anymore and there have been many games this season where he was a liability on the field.

His contract ends next year and there is a high probability that he will leave.

  • Played 2,194 minutes
  • Impact game: August 8th vs Nashville SC
  • Average season rating: 6.3

Victor Ulloa:

Another “swiss army knife” player, Ulloa was Neville’s go-to guy. He filled in at multiple positions due to Miami’s injury crisis. Though he didn’t nail down a starting spot, having players like him who are able to fill in when they can is valuable.

He played as a fullback and “10”, doing a serviceable job at both positions. However, Ulloa is out of contract at the end of the season and it remains to be seen if Miami will bring him back to the club.

UPDATE: He will not be returning to Inter Miami next season.

  • Played 1,241 minutes
  • Impact game: August 4th vs Orlando City
  • Average season rating: 6.1

Gregore:

Without a doubt, Inter Miami’s MVP this season is Gregore. The Brazilian defensive midfielder was the team’s standout this year. His toughness, energy, and leadership was one the bright spot in a rather drab season for the club.

Expect him to be even better in 2022.

  • Played 2,445
  • Impact game: July 31st vs CF Montreal
  • Average season rating: 7.7

Federico Higuain:

Perhaps the classiest player to wear an Inter Miami kit, Federico Higuain gave his all to the club. The 37-year-old was oftentimes the spark plug that the Herons needed to get their offense going. His presence on the pitch showed that with a true number “10” Miami is able to play good football.

Federico was a joy to watch on the pitch and he will be sorely missed next season.

  • Played 810 minutes
  • Impact game: October 23rd
  • Average season rating: 7.3

Jay Chapman:

Chapman came into 2021 looking to have more of an impact than he did in 2020. He did that, and then some. The 27-year-old came off the bench several times over the course of the season and put in decent cameos. Because of his low salary ($167,500.00) and “swiss army knife” like role he’s able to play, Miami may look to keep him on the squad.

UPDATE: Jay Chapman will not be returning to Inter Miami in 2022.

  • Played 1,177 minutes
  • Impact game: June 25th vs Orlando City
  • Average season rating: 6.5

Rodolfo Pizarro:

Rodolfo Pizarro came to Miami as the big star. He was the Designated Player that the team was supposed to be built around. However, with the inclusion of Gonzalo Higuain, the Mexican international’s form began to dip.

It’s no shock that Pizarro and Higuain don’t play well together. The 27-year-old was liking tweets that implied that the pair don’t get along:

At the same time, Pizarro hasn’t contributed to Inter Miami like Higuain has. Over the course of his two years in South Florida, Pizarro has only scored goals six goals and assisted eight times.

For a player that had a $12 million dollar price tag, that simply isn’t good enough. Because of this, Pizarro is the most likely out of the three DPs to leave over the winter.

  • Played 1,614 minutes
  • Impact game: August 18th vs Chicago Fire
  • Average season rating: 6.0

Forwards

Lewis Morgan:

A fan favorite, Lewis Morgan has largely been the heart and soul of Inter Miami. However, for all of the good he’s brought to South Florida, his output on the pitch has regressed.

With only two goals and a single assist on the year, the 25-year-old’s form has dipped in 2021. If he can re-discover his 2020 form heading into next season, he could be a very dangerous option for Phil Neville on Miami’s right-hand side.

However, according to sources, there is interest from other MLS teams for Lewis Morgan’s services. If the right price comes along for Scotland international, Miami would be willing to part ways with him.

  • Played 2,730 minutes
  • Impact game: May 9th vs Atlanta United
  • Average season rating: 7.1

Julian Carranza: 

For all the chances Julian Carranza has been given, he has yet to make a real impact. The amount of money he is earning compared to his output is lackluster, to say the least. The Argentine came to Miami with high expectations but has fallen flat on all of them.

Because of this, Inter Miami will more than likely look to move him on as well.

  • Played 659 minutes
  • Impact game: October 23rd vs FC Cincinnati
  • Average season rating: 5.0

Indiana Vassilev:

Probably the most surprising addition to the roster, the energy Indian Vassliev provided Inter Miami was excellent. Every time he came on the pitch, his work rate and technical ability were breath of fresh air.

He’s currently on loan from Aston Villa, so it remains to be seen if Inter Miami will bring him back next season.

  • Played 728 minutes
  • Impact game: August 8th vs Nashville SC
  • Average season rating: 7.2

Robbie Robinson:

Robinson showed improvements from his 2020 self. He got stronger, more physically imposing, and terrified defenses with his speed.

However, after the incident with the Chilean national team mid-season, his form dipped and never fully recovered. He had his moments, but ultimately, he was lacking that end product in the final third. Let’s see if he can rediscover himself in 2022.

  • Played 1,358 minutes
  • Impact game: August 21 vs Toronto FC
  • Average season rating: 6.3

Gonzalo Higuain:

Love him or dislike him Gonzalo Higuain kept Inter Miami afloat. His 12g+9a on the season was the only offensive threat Miami had.

His tendency to drop deep and questionable attitude at times did cause rifts in the locker room, but, without the 33-year-old, Miami statistically would have been worse off.

Taking away Higuain’s goals and assists, Miami would have ended the season 13th in the Eastern Conference with only 26 points accumulated compared to 41.

It is highly likely that Higuain follows his brother’s footsteps and retires after the 2022 season, meaning he’ll have one more year in South Florida.

  • Played 2,448 minutes
  • Impact game(s): May 16th and October 23rd vs FC Cincinnati.
  • Average season rating: 7.4

Josh Penn:

Only played for 20 minutes.  He will not be returning to Inter Miami next season.

Edison Azcona:

Only played for 50 minutes. Expect him to have a bigger role in 2022.

Felipe Valencia: Did not play for the first team.

Inter Miami in 2021 fell short of their goal. With preseason starting on January 17th, expect this roster to look extraordinarily different come early 2022.

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*This article will continue to be updated as roster news trickles out.*
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SoccerShape
Alex Windley
Alex is a soccer enthusiast with an unhealthy obsession with tattoos. Born and raised in Miami, she spends her time waxing poetic over Jordan Rakei, finding different tea combinations, and planning her next road trip.

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