Inter Miami lost a preseason scrimmage 4-0 to St. Louis City

Inter Miami forward Ari Lassiter dribbles the ball against St. Louis City in preseason scrimmage January 28, 2023 at Miami's training facility in Fort Lauderdale.  Miami lost 4-0.

Inter Miami forward Ari Lassiter dribbles the ball against St. Louis City in preseason scrimmage January 28, 2023 at Miami’s training facility in Fort Lauderdale. Miami lost 4-0.

It was just a quarrel. As many as five players expected at Inter Miami – including striker Josef Martinez – have yet to play. So, a 4-0 loss Saturday night to an expanded St. Louis City team in a preseason game is no reason for Miami coaches, players, or fans to panic.

However, not being able to score for more than 120 minutes (four periods of 30 minutes each), after a 3-0 pre-season loss to Brazilian club Vasco da Gama, should be a concern for manager Phil Neville, who has promised a high-octane offense. In 2023 to replace the retired Gonzalo Higuain.

Here are three takeaways from losing:

The scoring struggle continues: Martinez, one of the most prolific scorers in MLS history, will be a welcome addition to Miami’s offense, which has failed to find the net against a professional opponent this season. (The word is that they scored three goals against the FIU in a closed scrimmage last week.)

Martinez is working his way into shape after joining the squad from Atlanta United. Midfielders Bryce Duke and Jean Mota, who both recovered from injuries, were also absent, as were defenders Ryan Sailor (injured) and Franco Negri (just arrived from Argentina on Thursday).

Leo Campana and Ariel Lassiter started offense against St. Louis with midfielders Rodolfo Pizarro, Robert Taylor and Coco behind them. Robbie Robinson and Jake La Cava started out on top in the third period, with Nico “Chicho” Stefanelli and Benjamin Kremaski attacking from midfield.

Mamie’s best chance came from left-back Noah Allen, who unleashed a shot which went wide of the far post. This scoring sequence began with a long pass to Campana, who tipped the ball over to Lassiter, who tipped it over to Allen.

Stefanelli looked promising: New to the camp last week, Stefanelli played 30 minutes and showed flashes of skill and decision-making that attracted scouts from the club. He can play anywhere in midfield but is more likely to be used as a playmaker.

He said he learned a lot about his teammates from the scrimmage and one week of training with them.

“It’s good for me to get to know the tendencies and movements of my teammates so I can adapt to them,” Stefanelli said. “I see Leo can move it because he always wins aerial duels, so for me, if I’m number 10, I have to be close to him to catch second balls because if he plays Ari or Joseph, he’s really quick to run back to take those pop-ups.

“With Ari you have to be really able to adapt because he’s really quick, he does diagonal runs and I have to be ready when I receive the ball to turn around and pass it quickly.”

Stefanelli. jpg
Argentine midfielder Nico “Chicho” Stefanelli made his Inter Miami debut in a brawl against St. Louis City on January 28, 2023. Inter Miami CF

Miami’s back line showed cracks: Neville was eager to strengthen his centre-back position, helping out on the way. And team sources confirmed that the club is finalizing a deal for the 31-year-old strong Ukrainian full-back, Serhiy Krivtsov, who played with Shakhtar, one of the best teams in Ukraine, and the Ukrainian national team. He is expected to join the team in the coming days.

Defenders DeAndre Yedlin, Amy Mabika, Christopher McPhee and Allen started on Saturday.

Former Inter Miami winger Indiana Vasiliev scored against his former teammates in the second half when he smashed a free kick from long distance past Miami goalkeeper Drake Callender. Vasiliev held a silent celebration, raising his hand before his present colleagues swarmed him.

St. Louis’ other goals in the last two periods came from referee Lucas Bartlett on a rebound from a corner kick, Samuel Adeniran on a pass from Bartlett, and Celio Pompeo on a penalty kick.

Inter Miami used two different formations, and each played about 60 minutes.

First and second period lineup: Callender; Yedlin, Mabeka, McPhee, Allen; Gregor, Taylor, Bizarro, Coco; Lassiter, Campana.

Third period lineup: Nick Marsman. Israel Boatwright, Tyler Hall, Modesto Mendes, Kieran Gibbs, Harvey Neville; Victor Ulloa, Benjamin Kremashchi, Stefanelli; Robbie Robinson and Jake La Cava. CJ Dos Santos, Edison Azcona, David Ruiz, and Shanider Borgelin entered the fourth inning.

Inter Miami heads to Sarasota on Tuesday for a few days of practice, culminating in a closed friendly against the New England Revolution on Thursday. The team returns home to train for a few more weeks and will play three more pre-season games. The regular season begins on February 25 with a home game against FC Montreal.

This story was originally published January 29, 2023 11:44 AM.

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Miami Herald sportswriter Michelle Kauffman has covered 14 Olympics, six World Cups, Wimbledon, the US Open, the NCAA Basketball Championships, NBA Playoffs, and Super Bowls and has been the football writer and basketball writer at the University of Miami for 25 years. She was born in Frederick, Maryland, and raised in Miami.

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