NYCFC earns a draw with Inter Miami CF

  • NYCFC and Inter Miami shared the points on Saturday
  • The two teams ended the match in a 1-1 draw

Matt Freese of NYCFC
Matt Freese of NYCFC / Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

New York City FC continued their road struggles as they entered a fiery showdown with Inter Miami CF on Saturday in Fort Lauderdale. With Lionel Messi out with injury, their only obstacle in the attack was Luis Suárez who already had four goals and three assists entering the match. They were on their way to win during their last outing, but a late goal by Miami doomed their chances of a playoff spot in 2023.  

NYCFC entered the game with some challenges, with Birk Risa ruled out and Kevin O'Toole on the bench. This will give defender Strahinja Tanasijević a chance for another start, with another different lineup for Nick Cushing’s side. The skipper remains in the hot seat with NYCFC second to last in the Eastern Conference entering this weekend.

Luckily, NYCFC played solid in the back to earn their first road point, drawing 1-1 against a Messi’less Inter Miami. 

With a few key players missing, NYCFC kept their 3-5-3 formation with Tayvon Gray back in the Starting XI at center back with both Thiago Martins and Tanasijević. Alonso Martínez also made his first start as a winger. Additionally, Mounsef Bakrar and Mitja Ilenič were back from international duty.

NYCFC ends with a 1-1 draw to Inter Miami 

This match was also special for James Sands, who made his 100th MLS appearance with NYCFC.  

The Boys in Blue opened the match strongly with two big chances in the first 10 minutes. However, poor defending saw Suárez wide open to put them down 1-0 in the 15th minute. This did not stop NYCFC as both Santiago Rodríguez and Martínez were high-pressing the defense of Miami while getting great opportunities in front of goal.

This led to NYCFC’s only goal of the match in the 34th minute with a wonderful strike by Martínez to level the game 1-1. This was his first goal for the club while finding the net in his first start. 

The Bronx side ended the half well, looking like the better side before the halftime whistle. Parks was stellar in the midfield while winning almost every ball and tallying an assist. The second half was a challenge, but the defense showed up.  

Big credit goes out to Matt Freese, who had yet another upstanding performance. Though he has not been able to keep a clean sheet yet, he kept NYCFC in the match, making five saves on the night. His best save was in the 78th minute, denying Suárez at close range to keep the match level.  

Despite a few chances, NYCFC spent most of the game in defense mode, relying mostly on defense. This resulted in a deadlock, all thanks to Freese. Not only was he the Man of the Match, but he should be in contention for the Goalkeeper of the Week after the best performance of his young career.  

As for the attack, there are still concerns over Bakrar, who went another day without scoring a goal to extend his scoreless streak to five. Both Rodríguez and Hannes Wolf continue to be essential in the attack on the left. Meanwhile, Cushing is still experimenting on who will be his consistent starting right winger. Martínez's goal puts him in a good position for that role, though he has a lot more to prove to remain in the Starting XI. 

The Boys in Blue will return to Queens for a showdown with Atlanta United FC on April 6. They have also started the season slow, winning twice with two losses. However, they do know how to score. Therefore it could be another defensive challenge for NYCFC as they prepare for a five-match homestand.