Inter Miami proved they can win without Lionel Messi, triumphing 3-2 over Sporting Kansas City at DRV PNK Stadium with goals from Leonardo Campana and Facundo Farias.
Kansas City wasted no time in Fort Lauderdale, after Dániel Sallói took advantage of a critical error by Inter Miami goalkeeper when tapping in the rebound of a badly saved strike. The visitors then held their ground, forcing the Herons into their own box.
But a moment of excessive force by SKC goalkeeper Tim Melia on Leonardo Campana inside the box gave the Herons the opportunity to equalize. Campana stepped up to the spot, driving the ball to the lower left corner to convert the penalty for the 1-1. Miami then used the goal to propel forward, eventually finding the second with a phenomenal header by Campana to earn the lead before the half.
And the action continued in the second 45 with two more goals. Inter Miami found the back of the net first to extend the lead, after Sergio Busquets rushed to find Farias in a set piece. While SKC players continued to complain to the referees, the former FC Barcelona player sneaked the ball to Farias and inspire the strike.
It wasn’t until the 78th minute that Alan Pulido finally pulled one back for Sporting with a left-footed strike to the opposite corner of the net. But at that point, it was too late.
The visitors played well, but the Herons proved smarter by capitalizing on every play.
Inter Miami player ratings (4-2-3-1)
GK: Drake Callender – 3/10 – Should’ve been CJ dos Santos starting while Callendar reported to international duty, probably would’ve been more useful. At fault for the first goal, and shaky throughout.
RB: DeAndre Yedlin – 5/10 – Very early on made a couple defensive mistakes before enabling that first goal. Could’ve been offside had he not lost focus inside the box.
CB: Tomás Avilés – 6/10 – Not quite adjusted yet, but not the worst of the backline.
CB: Kamal Miller – 7/10 – Unnoticeable when pushing forward and weak at the back.
LB: Jordi Alba – 7.5/10 – As always, proved better on the attack than defense but still useful.
RW: Nicolás Marcelo Stefanelli – 7/10 – Took a couple risks in the first half, and adjusted to the left when necessary.
CM: Dixon Arroyo – 7/10 – Stable, but easily disappears into the background.
CAM: Facundo Farías – /10 – Threatening inside the opponent’s box and constantly active in the first half before securing the goal in the second 45. Proving to be a great signing for Miami.
CM: Sergio Busquets – 8/10 – Never the most attractive player on the pitch, but constantly provides the necessary stability in the midfield.
LW: Robbie Robinson – 6/10 – Not the attacking force Miami need, and a weakness on the left to allow the opponent to push forward.
ST: Leonardo Campana – 9/10 – Scored the penalty and a second goal, maybe now he’ll get the start over Josef Martinez.
CM: Lawson Connery Sunderland (75′ for Stefanelli) – 7/10 – Went unnoticed, but only really given 20 minutes to stand out in a system he’s unfamiliar with.
LB: Noah Allen (81′ for Robinson) – N/A
CM: Victor Ulloa (’88 for Farias) – N/A
Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino – 7/10 – A deceiving victory. Inter Miami was often outplayed, and does not know how to make the necessary adjustments. Granted it’s a limited bench, but more could’ve been done.