In their first home Major League Soccer game since Lionel Messi’s arrival, Inter Miami CF extended their unbeaten streak to 10 games but were held scoreless in a frustrating 0-0 draw with Nashville SC. Despite leading all players with seven shots, Messi did not contribute with a goal or an assist for the first time in his Inter Miami era. The Argentina star had played nine games for Miami since joining MLS in July, all resulting in wins. However, on this occasion, Messi’s magical left boot failed to produce a decisive play.
Nashville SC employed a tactical approach aimed at frustrating their opponents. With designated players Walker Zimmerman and Sam Surridge absent, and third DP Hany Mukhtar only playing 45 minutes, Nashville’s game plan appeared to be keeping as many players behind the ball as possible. This defensive strategy proved effective, as Miami struggled to break through their disciplined defense throughout the match.
Inter Miami’s coach Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino expressed frustration after the game about the limited time he has had to work with his squad. Since taking over, Martino has only had about 50-52 days of actual training with the team due to the compressed schedule. This lack of time has hindered his ability to fully build and develop the group. Martino emphasized the importance of having a full week of training to refine tactics and build team chemistry.
Miami’s offensive struggles were apparent as they failed to register a shot on goal in the first 60 minutes of the game. Their inability to break through Nashville’s defense was compounded by Messi’s unsuccessful attempts to make an impact. Despite drawing a foul and attempting a free kick in the 60th minute, Messi’s shot was saved by Nashville goalkeeper Elliot Panicco.
Nashville’s Hany Mukhtar had a goal disallowed due to an offside call in the 69th minute, providing a momentary relief for the frustrated Miami players and fans. However, Miami’s hopes of securing a victory were dashed as Messi’s shot in the 83rd minute bounced off a wall of defenders.
The draw against Nashville leaves Inter Miami with 22 points and 10 games remaining in their season. With a 10-point deficit behind the final playoff spot currently occupied by the Chicago Fire, Miami faces an uphill battle to secure a spot in the MLS playoffs. Every point dropped is crucial, and the missed opportunity in this game puts Miami’s playoff aspirations in jeopardy.
Looking ahead, Inter Miami will face defending MLS Cup champions LAFC at BMO Stadium on Sunday. This match poses another challenging obstacle for Miami, especially without the services of Messi and potentially up to 10 other players due to international call-ups. After the LAFC contest, Miami will finally have a longer break, with their next game scheduled for Saturday, September 9th against a struggling Sporting Kansas City side at home.
Before the draw against Nashville, Inter Miami celebrated their newly-acquired Leagues Cup trophy with their home fans. Co-owner Jorge Mas expressed his pride in the club winning their first title, and both Messi and previous captain DeAndre Yedlin raised the cup to all sides of the DRV PNK.
Inter Miami CF’s unbeaten streak continues after a 0-0 draw with Nashville SC. However, the missed opportunities and offensive struggles in this game highlight the challenges Miami faces in their quest for a playoff berth. The absence of Messi and other international call-ups further compounds the team’s difficulties. With 10 games remaining, Miami must regroup, refine their tactics, and capitalize on every opportunity to secure valuable points in the playoff race.