Inter Miami once again came away empty-handed from another MLS match in which they felt their play deserved a better fate.
The 2-1 loss to the Philadelphia Union in Group A action of the MLS is Back Tournament left them with that all-too-familiar snakebit feeling that's accompanied each of the four official matches in their inaugural MLS expansion season. All four have ended in losses.
“Obviously, the team is hurt,” manager Diego Alonso said postgame. “For us, losing is not an option. When a team plays bad, it has to [aim to] tie. When a team plays well like today, it has to win. And if you play really well, you have to win by a lot. So logically, we don’t like what’s happening to us.
“I think that we scored a nice goal in the style we like, moving from side to side and combining,” Alonso said in reference to the momentary equalizer scored by star signing Rodolfo Pizarro. “But I think [Inter Miami] also had many opportunities to take the lead [in the game]. We did things really well in the attack, but we didn’t score. And so the errors in both penalty areas cost us points. Setting aside the mistakes, I think the team performed well ... We created a lot of scoring chances, we dominated the game. We faced a strong rival [Philadelphia Union] that took advantage of our mistakes.”
Inter Miami fell behind early on a strike from outside the box. Then after equalizing on a sensational team passing sequence finished off by Pizarro, Inter conceded the go-ahead goal on a counterattack that originated from their own attacking set piece on the other end of the field.
“The second goal came on our set piece where we were well positioned, but the decision-making during the transition was bad. And we paid dearly for it," Alonso explained. "Despite all these things which are evident and can be improved, what we have achieved today was seeing things that we wanted to see: a team that can push the game, play wide, [a team] that can play with a numerical advantage in midfield and in the final third, aggressive in pushing forward, seeking 1-on-1s, looking for combinations and looking to go out wide and deliver dangerous crosses for the forwards."
"So much of it is concentration — concentration and execution. And I think the good thing is that we can control those things,” midfielder Wil Trapp said. “Overall, it’s just making plays to be honest. Just making plays. And a big part of that is understanding the team, understanding your role within the team and what’s being required. It’s something we can control and we will thankfully have that opportunity to push our level and push our teammates to do so."
Pizarro was much more blunt in his assessment, calling out the "silly decisions" and "silly mistakes" that have cost them.
“It’s maddening and it’s frustrating that we haven’t been able to get results that we maybe deserve because of silly decisions," Pizarro said. "I think we’re coming along well. No team has really dominated us. It’s been silly mistakes ... I think we played a good game, but once again because of mistakes and silly decisions, we let three points slip away.”
“They’ve been errors more than anything else due to lack of concentration," Pizarro continued. "And up top I think we’ve had chances and we haven’t scored. And sometimes the opponent has two chances and scores both ... It’s because of lack of concentration that we lost all four matches.”
Alonso is clear on the areas of improvement and he's not ready to give up on the current squad after four games. Their next try will come in their group finale on Monday against NYCFC (9 am ET on ESPN in USA; TSN in Canada).
“I think it’s not the place or the moment to say what position we have to reinforce on our team. It’s a lack of respect to my players. I have to say that publicly," Alonso said in reaction to a question about areas of improvement for the team. "We have to work on that internally with the executives and the owners to become stronger. It’s clear that we have to be better in [both] penalty areas. We can get to goal, but we’re scoring a goal a game and based on the chances we’re creating we can score more. And we have to be better defensively, where we’ve made some errors.”