Supporters of Inter Miami CF are already turning out in droves, and they’re creating quite the atmosphere.
The diehards’ latest showing came before a 1-0 preseason win over USL Championship side Tampa Bay Rowdies on Saturday, when they surprised the players outside of their hotel. The game was played at Al Lang Stadium in St. Petersburg, Fla., which is a nearly-four hour drive away from Miami.
Several reporters captured the scenes, including Franco Panizo and Miami Herald sportswriter Michelle Kaufman. Drums and songs filled the air.
Inter Miami players came out of their hotel and took part in some of the pregame festivities with fans.— Franco Panizo (@FrancoPanizo) February 22, 2020
Argentine centerback Nico Figal even got on the drums for a bit. 🥁 #InterMiamiCF #MLS pic.twitter.com/riKZnvyBV5
For people who still wonder why I love soccer, this is why: Inter Miami players emerge from hotel in St. Pete, are met by passionate drum-beating fans who drove 4 hours for a preseason game, and the players stop to party with the fans. @MiamiHerald @HeraldSports @InterMiamiCF pic.twitter.com/vhs9jGwsuN— Michelle Kaufman (@kaufsports) February 23, 2020
The result closed out Inter Miami’s preseason ahead of their historic MLS debut March 1 at LAFC, last year’s Supporters’ Shield winners. The expansion club will then continue on the road March 7 at D.C. United before playing their inaugural home match March 14 against the LA Galaxy.
Head coach Diego Alonso is impressed by the support Miami’s already generated before playing an official game.
“It’s incredible that [our supporters] traveled so many kilometers to support us in a friendly, it's wonderful,” Alonso said after the Tampa Bay win. “Imagine what our home opener is going to be like. We’re happy that the home opener will be sold out. It was also great to have shared today with so many supporters. We felt at home today, we played away but felt like the home team because of our fans."