Welcome to the eighteenth Season Preview of the 2023 MLS season! We are continuing this journey down south to the Magic City (aka Ft. Lauderdale), Inter Miami CF. A record signing for the club this winter, I have high expectations for this group heading into the season. For those of you who are new to MLS Now's work, thanks for reading today and check out all of what our podcast and blog site has to offer. Let's get into it below.
Record: 14-6-14 (48 points/6th in East)
Team Leader Goals: Gonzalo Higuain 16, Leonardo Campana 11, Ariel Lassiter 4
Team Leader Assists: Bryce Duke 7, Alejandro Pozuelo 6, Ariel Lassiter 5
Manager: Phil Neville (3rd season)
Additions: CAM Rodolfo Pizarro (return loan from Monterrey/28 years old), CF Josef Martinez (free from Atlanta United/29 years old), CB Sergiy Kryvtsov (free from Shakhtar Donetsk/31 years old), LB Franco Negri (free from CD Godoy Cruz/27 years old), CF Nicolas Stefanelli ($803k transfer from AIK Solna/28 years old), RW Jake LaCava ($150k GAM trade from St. Louis City SC/22 years old)
Subtractions: CF Gonzalo Higuain (retired/35 years old), CAM Alejandro Pozuelo (free to Konyaspor/31 years old), CB Damian Lowe ($225k GAM trade to Philadelphia Union/29 years old), RM Emerson Rodriguez (loan to Santos Laguna/22 years old), LW Indiana Vassilev (end of loan/21 years old), CM Mo Adams (free to Al-Shabab/25 years old), LB Joevin Jones (free agent/31 years old), LM Brek Shea (free agent/32 years old)
Designated Players: CF Leonardo Campana, CAM Rodolfo Pizarro
Projected Starting XI
The King stays in the south as he headlines the offseason for Inter Miami. This is going to blow up in a good or bad way, and whichever way it goes it was still worth it for Miami to land someone with the resume Martinez has for under the designated player tag. It will be interesting to see how he and Campana connect at the top together, and a lot of it might come to Rodolfo Pizarro's adjustments in his second MLS stint. Not brining back Pozuelo and Higuain retiring, there is a lot of playmaking opened to be filled. I'm curious to see how Miami uses their width of the field in this formation above. I really like Bryce Duke as a player, I am just shaky about Miami's depth in the midfield. Their backline should be solid. For Miami to be a playoff team again comes down to a lot of what was already said above. Even if Martinez does struggle to stay on the field or connect with his teammates, they can ride to Nicolas Stefanelli now too. Most importantly, Miami has kept their roster open to go after the biggest prize this summer: the GOAT Leo Messi. Reports have been all over the place, but Miami isn't out of the equation yet. Obviously this would not just be massive for Miami, but also for the league and Apple TV. I have my doubts it'll happen, but Miami has the roster flexibility to get it done. To cap it off, I really don't know what to expect with this group, but it's going to be fun to see it unfold as an outsider either way.
Thanks for viewing our eighteenth 2023 season preview. There will be a new one out about every single day leading up to MLS kickoff. If you are a passionate fan looking to write about your club, we are actively seeking contributors for MLS clubs this season. If interested, message us on either Twitter or Instagram @MLSNowPodcast. We want to provide an outlet for fans to discuss their club on the site and also guest star on the podcast throughout the season.