Predicted XI: Inter Miami

The Columbus Crew host Inter Miami to conclude a busy three-game week prior to an off weekend next week. Head coach Wilfried Nancy played four regular starters in the midweek U.S. Open Cup match: center backs Milos Degenek and Steven Moreira, midfielder Darlington Nagbe and forward Cucho Hernandez. 

There were changes in the Crew’s injury report this week. Hernandez is no longer listed but left back Will Sands will be out the rest of the season with a torn ACL suffered last Saturday. Winger Luis Diaz, midfielder Kevin Molino and center back Josh Williams are listed as out. Left back Jimmy Medranda joins the injury report as questionable with a thigh injury and goalkeeper Eloy Room also is questionable with a knee injury.

With all that in mind, let’s take a look at how we believe the Black & Gold will line up against Miami.

Patrick Schulte will get an unchallenged start at goal with Room having an injury this week. Schulte fits Nancy’s possession style of play, giving Columbus an extra field player as a passing option. The young goalkeeper can also make downfield passes better than any other keeper on the roster. Schulte has grown in confidence since his first start, even earning a Team of the Matchday honor earlier in the year.

Degenek and Moreira were the only two players that started against Charlotte FC and Indy Eleven. Even though both players have played 180 minutes already this week, the Crew will need to rely on them both to play against Miami. Fortunately for both Degenek and Moreira, Columbus had 65 percent of the ball while Indy struggled to maintain possession beyond the half. Alongside Degenek and Moreira, Gustavo Vallecilla will get another start in the three-man backline. 

Mohamed Farsi gets the start as the right wing back, Farsi scored his first goal for the Crew senior team against Indy Eleven. The Black & Gold made a trade with New York City FC for Malte Amundsen due to Sands injury, Amundsen will get the start this week at left wing back. Medranda is a potential candidate to fill in for Sands but has not logged significant playing time for the Crew. Yaw Yeboah has filled in for the young left wing back. The trade for Amundsen seems to signal that neither Medranda nor Yeboah will be a long-term stop gap for Sands. 

Central midfield Aidan Morris and Nagbe both played in one of the matches this week, but Nancy rotated his midfield, giving starting minutes to Sean Zawadzki in both matches so that Morris and Nagbe would be available to start against Miami.

Nancy will have a big decision to make with Hernandez returning to the starting lineup. Either playmaker Alexandru Matan or Christian Ramirez will be dropped. 

Ramirez and Hernandez will start in front of attacking midfielder Lucas Zelarayan. Matan has enjoyed a positive run of form to start the season, but the trio of Hernandez, Matan, and Zelarayan all are players that operate best with the ball. Ramirez brings the Black & Gold a player that will stay central in the penalty box while not needing the ball to make an impact. Ramirez’s movements toward the goal should stretch the defense more, even as the field gets more compact in the 18-yard box, allowing for the ball-carrying players more room to operate.

2 thoughts on “Predicted XI: Inter Miami

  1. Interesting that you see Amundsen getting the start over Yeboah. I don’t disagree with your analysis long term but it seems “courageous” to play Amundsen right off the plane. Plus, I’d think the team would want to “show off” Yeboah in preparation for shipping him out long term.


    1. Maybe I am dreaming a bit, but Amundsen should be match fit, even if he has not played yet this season. I just do not rate Yeboah high enough to play him over a new signing that has been playing this position for a lot longer.


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