Inter Miami may have suffered a defeat on their MLS debut, but the team came away from a 1-0 defeat to LAFC full of confidence about what they can achieve in their inaugural season.
At the home of the record-breaking 2019 Supporters' Shield winners, Miami only went down to defeat thanks to a wonder goal from LAFC star Carlos Vela late in the first half.
"I thanked them for the effort because I feel they played their hearts out," Diego Alonso said when asked what he said to his players after the defeat at Banc of California Stadium on Sunday. "If they keep playing with this intensity then we’re going to do great things in the MLS.”
Like Alonso, Miami's biggest signing to date, Mexico international Rodolfo Pizarro, said the difference between the sides was simply that Miami were unable to take their chances.
“We played a great game. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to finish our chances but in the end, it was a great game," the former Monterrey midfielder said. "The man of the match was their [LAFC] goalkeeper and I think that says a lot about our game.”
Without the injured Julian Carranza for the first couple of months of the season, Miami started with the No. 1 selection in the 2020 MLS SuperDraft Robbie Robinson leading the attack. At the back, meanwhile, there were impressive debuts from Argentine Nicolas Figal and MLS veteran Luis Robles.
"I felt like we played well enough to get a point," Robles said afterward. "I really thought optimistically that we’d nick one at the end and it’d be a fair result. For our first game, you could see that we’re a work in progress but there’s a lot of encouraging things and this is why the group is so optimistic. It’s our first game and we know that it’s not going to be perfect but nonetheless it was a good team performance and it’s a great place to start with a very high ceiling.”
Miami also earned praise from LAFC coach Bob Bradley, a man who's seen a new MLS team or two down the years.
“I get a little look at what they are trying to do today and I think they have a good starting point," Bradley said. "They’ve got a mix of guys, they work hard, they’ve got some special players, they came today to really push in pressing moments, obviously they are a threat in transition, the young player, [Robbie] Robinson up front, it’s a handful. For a young player, first game in the league, he caused some trouble because he can hold the ball and he can run. So, I think whatever Miami’s doing, they’re off to a good start.”
Along with all the positive words, there was also a dose of realism from Miami's experienced midfielder Wil Trapp, who made it clear there was plenty of work to be done if they are to fulfill the club's lofty ambitions.
"It's a difficult task against a good team but I think in saying that we have to get better, we have to get better every day," Trapp told MLSsoccer.com's Susannah Collins following the final whistle. "We have to continue to work at the process of being this team and building something from the ground up. I think there's good moments, there's not so good moments but that's a part of this and we have to continue to get better."
In the bigger picture, though, there were already signs of a unity emerging on and off the pitch, with co-owner David Beckham and a large contingent of Miami fans making the trip to LA.
"The group's incredible, the group's incredible," Trapp added. "What David and [Managing Owner] Jorge [Mas] have done in creating La Familia, truly it feels that way and it's something that we can continue to build upon as our foundation and continue to grow,