Nashville SC 2-2 Inter Miami: Player ratings as Luis Suarez strikes in late on to seal comeback draw for visitors

Jacob Shaffelburg struck twice for Nashville SC before Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez both found the back of the net for Inter Miami in a 2-2 draw in the first leg of the Concacaf Champions Cup Round of 16 clash at GEODIS Park.

Despite the visitors who controlled the tempo in the opening minutes of play, it was the hosts to opened the scoring that sent the fans in Nashville into euphoria.

Veteran Miami center-back Serhiy Kryvstov was caught out of position near midfield, which allowed Nashville right-back Shaq Moore to drift past Federico Redondo (who was making his Miami debut) before laying it off to Jacob Shaffelburg. The Canadian winger made no mistake in front of goal, slicing it through Drake Callender’s gloves just under the crossbar in the fourth minute.

It was a similar story to start the second half for Nashville, with Shaffelburg adding his second of the game before Miami had the chance the warm up for the restart. The 24-year-old danced through the Herons’ defense before firing a shot into the far right corner that Callender had no chance of saving.

However, the Herons would respond just a few minutes later through a left-footed curler from none other than Lionel Messi. Luis Suarez laid the ball off with ease near the edge of Nashville’s box, and the superstar No. 10 finished in trademark fashion to bring the game to 2-1 in favor of the hosts.

Miami didn’t give up, though. Suarez, who bagged his first two goals as a Heron against Orlando, made his presence felt in the 95th minute with a point-blank header to tie things up with just moments remaining. Sergio Busquets was on the side of Nashville’s penalty area and served up an inviting cross for the Uruguayan to latch onto.

Miami managed to claw their back from two goals down — two away goals that could be important later on — to draw 2-2 and set themselves up for an easier task in the second leg on on March 13 at Chase Stadium.

Lionel Messi pulled one back for Inter MiamiLionel Messi pulled one back for Inter Miami

Lionel Messi pulled one back for Inter Miami / Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

GK: Drake Callender – 5/10 – Allowed Shaffelburg’s first effort to go right through his gloves but there was no stopping the Canadian’s second strike.

RWB: Julian Gressel – 6.5/10 – Improved as the game wore on and may have been unfortunate to not receive a pass from Messi as he had a more favorable look in front of goal — but

CB: Tomas Aviles – 6/10 – Pulled out of position for Nashville’s opening goal but got better was the game wore on.

CB: Nicolas Freire – 6/10 – An average showing as he continues to find his footing as a Miami player.

CB: Serhiy Kryvstov – 5.5/10 – Was way out of his depth to make the early challenge near midfield that cost his team early on.

LWB: Noah Allen – 6.5/10 – Teed up Messi early with a Jordi Alba-esque cutback but his young age showed at times.

CM: Federico Redondo – 5/10 – It was a debut to forget as he should’ve been sent off in the first half for a nasty elbow while also putting in a timid challenge on Shaq Moore that led to Nashville’s opener.

CM: Sergio Busquets – 8/10 – Cleaned up the loose balls in the middle of the park and assisted the equalizing striker. All in a day’s work for the former Spain international.

CM: Diego Gomez – 6.5/10 – Inconsistent in the first half with a few nice touches followed by a couple of sloppy moments in possession but grew into the game.

ST: Lionel Messi – 9/10 – Was unsurprisingly the Herons’ best player early on but failed to put away a huge chance before halftime where Julian Gressel was all alone near the penalty area. I guess he’s human after all.

ST: Luis Suarez – 8.5/10 – Muted in the first 45 but stepped up in the second with a clever assist for his best mate, Messi. Showcased his experience with his perfect positioning to find the the back of the net via a header deep in extra time.


SUB: David Ruiz (80′ for Gressel) – N/A

SUB: Lawson Sunderland (90′ for Redondo) – N/A


Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino – 6/10 – His decision to start Redondo in a massive game like this instead of easing him in was interesting. He may or may not have been bailed out by three of his former Barcelona figures late on, but everything is still to play for in the second leg.

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