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Inter Miami beat the Whitecaps, even without Messi or Suarez

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Vancouver Whitecaps FC lost 2-1 to Inter Miami CF as the BC club hosted the Florida club for the very first time at BC Place Saturday.

A franchise record attendance of 51,035 watched the defeat and many voiced their disapproval of the absence of league superstars Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.

Miami made four changes to their line-up from their last outing with Leonardo Campana getting the start up front alongside Matias Rojas and Rob Taylor.

Vancouver Whitecaps looked to return to their earlier winning form, particularly after losing mid-week to Canadian Premier League side Cavalry FC in the Canadian Championship

Miami push early

Miami pressed early, in the fourth minute Campana had a free header 3 yards out, forcing Yohei Takaoka to pull-off a one handed save.

Two minutes later Rojas attempted a long-range shot, which Takaoka was able to get down to collect.

Vancouver Whtiecaps lose 2-1 to Inter Miami In Major League Soccer action in Vancouver Saturday, May 25, 2024. Photo: Hazel May/Total Soccer News

The first 15 minutes continued in Miami’s favour, with shots from Taylor and Jordi Alba. But the visitors were unable to get the better of a very busy Whitecaps keeper Yohei Takaoka.

But in minute 38 Rob Taylor made a darting run down the left-wing. He cut inside to get the ball on his right foot, to fire a shot just inside the right-post to open the scoring.

Whitecaps have second half opportunities

Minute 49’ the Whitecaps had an opportunity to level the game, but a Picault header was just wide.

Ali Ahmed, on the right-wing, drew three Miami players to him, opening up the middle of the park for a possible Whitecaps attack. A pass to Cubas was intercepted by Campana, who played the ball out to Taylor on the left-wing, who then returned the ball to an unmarked Campana for a training ground instep shot inside the right-post, giving Miami a two goal lead.

Vancouver Whitecaps didn’t give up hope and continued to press the Miami goal. It wasn’t until minute 68 after VAR advised the Referee to review the field-side monitor, a penalty was awarded to Vancouver, Tomas Aviles was adjudged to have fouled Picault in the box. Ryan Gauld placed his kick, just inside the left-post out of the reach of a diving Drake Callender, to bring the Whitecaps back into the game.

Picault failed to score again with his head in minute 81’, after hitting the post this time.

Vancouver Whitecaps continued the pressure right to the end. But even with nine minutes of added time, Miami held the lead to take away three points.

Post game quotes

Whitecaps coach Vanni Sartini

On his team’s performance across both halves: “I don’t think it’s a disappointing performance. I think it’s a disappointing result, to be honest. It’s a disappointing way that you lose. I think that we tried. We put a lot of effort. We did very good in getting ourselves in the right position. Today, when you guys talk about the final third and [in]the box, that’s the big reason today. We had four transitions in the first half where we had at least numerical parity, sometimes I think even numerical superiority. We arrived in the box, we arrived very close to the goal, and we didn’t even shoot. They had one, and they scored.”

Inter Miami coach Tata Martino (translated)

On the win on the road without some of his main star players:  “I feel comforted by the effort the boys made. I think it was a very valuable win… let’s celebrate in a fitting way as it was a very difficult match. We had to run a lot and work hard, but these are three very valuable points for us.”

On if the long travel affected the team’s performance on the night: “I don’t believe it was a factor… I think we did things better in the first half. Even until the second goal we were better, then there is an opponent who plays, applies pressure and makes changes and becomes stronger offensively, and we were forced to retreat and defend. But I don’t want to attribute the team’s dip in the last 30 minutes to something related to the trip.”

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