Passionate South Florida soccer fans, joined by the University of Miami men’s and women’s basketball teams, flooded the stands of DRV PNK Stadium on Saturday, but it was not enough to boost their hometown team to a much-needed win, as Inter Miami dropped its fifth-straight match in a 1-0 defeat to FC Dallas.
“I feel as if we’re so close but yet so far,” Miami head coach Phil Neville said. “It feels as if we’re close to going on a winning run, we’re close to being that team that scores three or four goals, but we’re being punished.”
“We’re not feeling sorry for ourselves. I’m gonna take full responsibility for all this losing run … We have to turn it around now and we have to turn it around quick.”
After a promising 2-0 start to the season, Miami has fallen down the MLS Eastern Conference standings. A reason for these woes has been its lack of offense, which was held scoreless in four of its five losses this season.
There was hope that this poor offensive trend would curb against Dallas with star forward Leonardo Campana making his season debut.
Getting Campana involved was a focus for Miami, which used a surplus of crossers in an attempt to put the 22-year-old Ecuadorian in a position to score. Campana was stifled by Dallas’ ferocious defense and did not attempt a shot.
Miami, despite having the ball for 69 percent of the time, failed to sustain attacks, especially early in the game. It didn’t have its first shot on goal until the 42nd minute, when forward Nicolás Stefanelli lasered a strike towards the top right corner of the goal. This shot was saved by FC Dallas goalkeeper Maarten Paes.
Dallas, comparatively, was a lot more direct in its attacks. Its forwards generated 16 shots, eight of which were on goal. Dallas got on the board during the 27th minute when forward Jesús Ferreira left-footed a close-range shot that was assisted by Jesús Jiménez.
This was the 22-year-old’s 40th career goal in league play, setting the MLS record as the youngest player to achieve that milestone.
Drake Callender prevented what could’ve been an even more dominant performance from Ferreira and Dallas’ offense. The fourth-year goalkeeper finished with seven saves, tying his season high, including a spectacular block on a shot that was headed for the back left corner of the goal during the 60th minute.
“I can’t say I’ve had a perfect performance this season but I always try and approach each game with the same mindset,” Callender said. “My role on the team is to be a leader. It’s to do everything I can to keep the ball out of the back of the net, and I think if I stick to my core values of work ethic, attitude and having good energy, then I think that will get shown on the field.”
While Miami’s offense struggled for the majority of the match, it did have opportunities to tie the score during the final stretch.
In the 70th minute, midfielder Rodolfo Pizarro airmailed a shot from the center of the box. 13 minutes later, forward Shanyader narrowly missed a header to the left of the goal on a free shot from Jean.
A golden opportunity arose during stoppage time when Mota drew a foul in the penalty box. The 17,287-person crowd roared in applause but later jeered in disapproval after the foul was overturned.
After a bye week, Miami (2-0-5) will return to action on April 22 at 8:30 p.m. against Houston Dynamo FC at Shell Energy Stadium. Dallas (3-2-2) will head back to Texas and play on April 15 at 8:30 p.m. against Real Salt Lake.
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