If there’s a word that best describes the first five months of Inter Miami CF’s inaugural MLS season, it would be suffering, at least in a soccer sense.
There was a four-month gap due to the COVID-19 stoppage after consecutive defeats in early March. Then at the MLS is Back Tournament, hopes of a deep run were cut short by three more one-goal losses and a Group A exit.
“I feel very happy,” Miami coach Diego Alonso said after the match. “I think the guys deserved it, I think that the staff deserved it, the owners, and above all the fans deserved it a lot. I think we've suffered a lot, I feel like we deserved more before. We had to wait for this victory for a long time, but I think we got it in the best way playing at home, and winning strongly.”
The win came in contrast to a 2-1 defeat against Orlando in the MLS is Back Tournament opener. Alonso said perhaps there were more similarities than differences, except this time Inter Miami got an important goal that extended their lead.
Nani struck late again, depositing in the 80th minute, but there was a cushion for the expansion side.
The month since their last MLS is Back game – a 1-0 loss against NYCFC – served Inter Miami well. They spent valuable time together and returned to regular training, with some of that coming at their new digs in Fort Lauderdale.
“I think you saw the fruits a little bit of our labor tonight of being more together as a group, having more cohesion, more chemistry – and ultimately it led to three points,” midfielder Wil Trapp said. “I think for us that’s very encouraging and it's something that we have to continue to build upon.”
When Rodolfo Pizarro’s attempt to make it 4-1 hit the post and Nani pulled the Lions within a goal, there was further suffering in the final 10 minutes of regulation time and the additional five minutes of stoppage time.
It seemed only fitting.
“I'm excited and happy to get the first win at home,” said Julian Carranza, who struck for a first-half brace. “I feel like we've worked hard. We deserve this. And we had a lot of merit to be able to get this one.”