Welcome to the first edition of our "Opposition Outlook" series. We've done these Q&A-style pieces before, but this is the first with the "Opposition Outlook" name. These pieces will interview media associated with the teams the Fire or Red Stars are about to play and will complement our formal match preview articles beginning next week.
This weekend, David Beckham's Inter Miami side looks to continue their strong start as they face a Fire team that is looking to win for the first time in 12 matches, dating back to last season.
I spoke with Jay from The Inter Miami Podcast about the upcoming matchup between our clubs, the Designated Player fiasco Miami had to go through, and match predictions.
How did you end up becoming an Inter Miami fan and what was the motivation to start the pod?
JAY: We’ve always been fans of the sport, but we were never able to live in a city with an MLS team. Once they announced the team, we were fans immediately. As we tried to research and gather news we realized how hard it was to find consistent information and there was no centralized source for news on Inter Miami. We decided to create that centralized source of news for the community and never looked back. If it wasn't for the amazing ongoing support for La Familia, the players, and the organization, who knows how many episodes we would have lasted.
For those who may not know, could you describe the Designated Player fiasco the club got themselves into before the season?
JAY: Long story short, we acquired Blaise Matuidi on a TAM deal with the expectations for the following season to have him in a DP slot. We were trying to make corrections and improve the team throughout the season last year, which is how this came about. However, we had to exercise the buyout option on our young DP player and loan him out to our USL league one team, Fort Lauderdale CF, to make sure we were roster compliant. Thanks to the new rules, we are able to have three outright DPs and no young DPs.
The side has seemed to put that fiasco to bed and has gotten off to a good start. What have been the one or two key factors attributing to that success?
JAY: One major factor is the fact Beckham can now travel to the states and be hands on. Last year he could not leave England due to COVID-19. Both Beckham and Jorge Mas overhauled the organization with a new coach, Phil Neville, who is very tactical and very involved with the team.
The other major area of improvement was bringing in Chris Henderson, who previously worked for the Sounders and brings a winning pedigree. He has already brought over a couple players form Seattle as well as finally acquiring Gregore, who he wanted 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 are still working towards being a high possession team, but you can expect Phil to have identified areas of weakness in Chicago that he will exploit. He also won’t hesitate to pull the trigger and make subs/tactical changes. He is so involved with the players at all times, you can see him speaking to everyone pre, during, and post-match.
What are you looking out for from a Fire perspective? What keeps you up at night (if anything)?
JAY: I am looking at a team who is struggling to score and is conceding many goals. I know all too well what that is like as a Miami fan. There isn’t anything that keeps me up at night when I think about Chicago. The only fear I have is players not taking Chicago seriously as a worthy opponent.
JAY: 2-0 Inter. Sorry bro, but I gotta do it to ya!