Opposition Outlook: Inter Miami Visit Chicago Fire For the First Time
Welcome to the first edition of our “Opposition Outlook” series. We’ve done these Q&A before, but this is the first called Opposition Outlook. These pieces will interview media associated with the Fire or Red Stars teams and complement our official game preview articles starting next week.
David Beckham’s Inter Miami side look to continue their strong start this weekend as they take on a Fire team looking to win for the first time in 12 games from last season.
I spoke to Jay of the Inter Miami Podcast about the upcoming matchup between our clubs, the Designated Player fiasco Miami was going through, and game predictions.
How did you become an Inter Miami fan and what was the motivation to start the pod?
JAY: We’ve always been fans of the sport, but we’ve never been able to live in a city with an MLS team. After they announced the team, we were instant fans. When we tried to research and collect news, we realized how difficult it was to find consistent information and there was no central source for news about Inter Miami. We made the decision to create this centralized news source for the community and never looked back. If it hadn’t been for the amazing ongoing support for La Familia, the players and the organization, who knows how many episodes we would have taken.
For those who may not know, could you describe the designated player fiasco the club got involved in before the season?
JAY: In short, we acquired Blaise Matuidi under a TAM contract with expectations for the following season to have him in a DP slot. We tried to make corrections last year and try to improve the team throughout the season. That’s how it came about. However, we had to exercise the buyout option on our young DP player and loan him to our USL League One team, Fort Lauderdale CF, to ensure we were up to duty. Thanks to the new rules, we can have three direct DPs and no young DPs.
The site appeared to be bringing this fiasco to bed and is off to a good start. What were the one or two key factors in this success?
JAY: One big factor is the fact that Beckham can now travel to the States and be practical. He couldn’t leave England last year because of COVID-19. Both Beckham and Jorge Mas have revamped the organization with a new coach, Phil Neville, who is very tactical and very committed to the team.
The other important area of improvement was the inclusion of Chris Henderson, who had previously worked for the Sounders and brought a successful pedigree. He’s already brought in a few players from Seattle and ended up taking on Gregore, whom he wanted to have as a DP in Seattle, but we got him on a TAM deal for Inter Miami.
Describe Phil Neville’s style of play that we’ll see on Saturday.
JAY: We’re still working on being a high possession team, but you can assume that Phil has identified vulnerabilities in Chicago that he will exploit. He won’t hesitate to pull the trigger and make sub / tactical changes either. He is so involved with the players at all times that you can see him talking to everyone before, during and after the game.
What do you pay attention to from the point of view of the fire? What, if anything, keeps you up at night?
JAY: I see a team fighting for a goal and conceding a lot of goals. I know all too well what it is like to be a Miami fan. There’s nothing that keeps me up at night when I think of Chicago. The only fear I have is that players will not take Chicago seriously as a worthy opponent.
JAY: 2-0 Inter. I’m sorry brother, but I have to do this to you!