With David Beckham cheering on and a demanding city watching on… can Inter Miami meet lofty expectations as an expansion club?
Under Sporting Director Paul McDonough, one of the masterminds of Atlanta United’s spectacular entry into the league, the recipe has been clear and it's the same that worked in Atlanta: Build a roster on a solid mix of MLS veterans and young South American talent with a sprinkle of star power along the way (Rodolfo Pizarro being the first dash with another still on its way).
And in two-time Concacaf Champions League-winner Diego Alonso, they also have a more-than-capable coach to put those talents to good use.
Extratime Analysis: Inter Miami CF
- Rodolfo Pizarro — Miami made a major statement by snapping up arguably the most talented Mexican playing in Liga MX, securing the playmaker in a blockbuster transfer from current Mexican champions Monterrey.
- Matias Pellegrini — Miami’s first-ever Designated Player, the 19-year-old winger has only a handful of games under his belt with Estudiantes but is very highly rated in his native Argentina.
- Julian Carranza — A reliable goalscorer would go a long way to insuring that Inter Miami can flourish right out of the gates in MLS. The 19-year-old Argentine Carranza could fulfill that role although an injury will rule him out of the first month of the season.
Projected Starting XI
- Goalkeepers (3): Drake Callender, John McCarthy, Luis Robles
- Defenders (10): Mikey Ambrose, A.J. DeLaGarza, Grant Lillard, Christian Makoun, Dylan Nealis, Alvas Powell, Andres Reyes, Ben Sweat, Roman Torres, Denso Ulysse
- Midfielders (8): George Acosta, Luis Argudo, Jay Chapman, Lee Nguyen, David Norman Jr., Matias Pellegrini, Wil Trapp, Victor Ulloa
- Forwards (5): Juan Agudelo, Julian Carranza, Jerome Kiesewetter, Lewis Morgan, Robbie Robinson
Armchair Analyst: Strengths and weaknesses
- Strength: The nice thing about having a blank slate is that you can take your time and build an almost perfectly balanced roster, which is what Inter have done. They have depth at literally every spot, and a blend of imported young players and MLS veterans who’ve won at the highest level in this league. Oh, and their head coach has won the Concacaf Champions League twice, so he’s not bad, either.
- Weakness: No matter how well-constructed an expansion team, they’re still an expansion team and it’s always an open question as to how quickly they’ll blend. It’s also an open question as to whether the top-end talent – the DPs – will provide the week-to-week consistency necessary to lift the entire team. Neither the very young Matias Pellegrini nor the very mercurial Rodolfo Pizarro have ever done that.
- Ben Baer: 8th in East
- Marcelo Balboa (Univision): 11th in East
- Calen Carr: 9th in East
- Charlie Davies: 11th in East
- Matt Doyle: 6th in East
- Kristian Jack (TSN): 7th in East
- Frederic Lord (TVA Sports): 10th in East