Experience Key to Inter Miami Ahead of Audi MLS Cup Playoffs
Inter Miami is just a few days away from its first Audi MLS Cup Playoffs match. The team became just the seventh in MLS history to qualify in its first season, alongside its opponent for Friday's match, Nashville SC.
Though Inter Miami may be new to the setting, many of the team's players are not. A key group of players will bring experience in playoff matches with them, while others will also bring similar experience from outside MLS.
Five Inter Miami players - Mikey Ambrose, Jay Chapman, A.J. DeLaGarza, Leandro GonzÃ¡lez Pirez, and Alvas Powell - have won the MLS Cup at one point in their careers, while 11 players - Juan Agudelo, Ambrose, DeLaGarza, GonzÃ¡lez Pirez, Federico HiguaÃn, Powell, Luis Robles, Brek Shea, Ben Sweat, Wil Trapp, and Victor Ulloa - have experience playing in MLS postseason action.
Overall, the players have a combined total of 118 MLS Cup Playoff matches under their belts.
"Players with a lot of experience, can help us on the field but also off it...We always look at their professionalism and personality," said manager Diego Alonso earlier this season. "We're a team that's growing and the players with more experience have to help us with professionalism, how to behave both on and off the field."
Outside of MLS, Alonso, Gonzalo HiguaÃn, Rodolfo Pizarro and Blaise Matuidi have found success in knockout tournament formats. Notably, Alonso has managed two different teams to Concacaf Champions League titles, the only coach to do so. Pizarro, meanwhile, is also a two-time Concacaf Champions League and one-time Concacaf Gold Cup winner.
Gonzalo HiguaÃn has accumulated a number of titles in knockout tournaments, including one Copa del Rey title, three Coppa Italia titles, and one UEFA Europa League title. The forward also reached a FIFA World Cup final with Argentina.
Lastly, Matuidi is a one-time FIFA World Cup champion, as well as a three-time Coupe de France, four-time Coupe de la Ligue, and one-time Coppa Italia champion.
"I had experience in many important matches before...Beyond my experience, the team has vast experience from other members: Matuidi is a World Cup winner, Pizarro has been a champion in Mexico, Wil Trapp has played in decisive instances with Columbus, Diego Alonso has been champion in Mexico as a manager. Hopefully, between us we can form a solid base...Our dream is intact and we will go out in search of it," added Gonzalo HiguaÃn prior to the team's playoff-clinching win on Decision Day presented by AT&T.
Inter Miami will undoubtedly lean on this vast pool of experience in Friday's Eastern Conference play-in game. The team will travel to face Nashville SC on Nov. 20, at Nissan Stadium, and fans can tune in to watch the match live on ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes at 9 p.m. ET.
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