Luis Suárez

Alonso Martinez’s close-range strike canceled out Luis Suarez’s opening goal as NYCFC held Inter Miami to a 1-1 draw Saturday night at Chase Stadium.

The Herons faced an uphill challenge leading up to the match as they were without the likes of Nicolas Freire, Serhiy Krvystov, Federico Redondo and superstar Lionel Messi. Miami’s growing injury list forced head coach Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino to throw together a combination of both experienced and inexperienced players into his starting lineup — which isn’t optimal when the team is aiming to lift MLS Cup in December.

Miami got off to a dream start after the team earned a free kick in a favorable area near NYCFC’s penalty area. An unmarked Luis Suarez latched on to Julian Gressel’s cross via a header to put the Herons up 1-0 inside 20 minutes played. Replay showed that Suarez looked to have created separation between himself and NYC’s James Sands by pushing him down with his hands, but VAR didn’t intervene and the goal stood.

The visitors would strike back roughly 20 minutes later after the Herons were unable to get the ball out of their own half due to a mixup between Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets. Keaton Parks then unlocked the Miami backline with a simple through ball to Alonso Martinez and the Costa Rica international powered a strike past Drake Callender to to square things up late in the first half.

Suarez had plenty of chances to put the Herons in front and ultimately put the game to bed in the second 45 but it just wasn’t meant to be. Miami will rue their missed chances and the opportunity to go top of the Supporters’ Shield standings, while NYCFC take a point back to Yankee Stadium but still remain near the bottom of the Eastern Conference.

Luis Suárez

Luis Suarez headed home in the first half / Rich Storry/GettyImages

GK: Drake Callender – 6.5/10 – Getting beat at your post is never a good look but the USMNT player rebounded with a couple of key saves in the second half.

RB: Marcelo Weigandt – 7/10 – An impressive debut from the full-back who didn’t look out of place and linked-up well with his new teammates.

CB: Ryan Sailor – 6/10 – Looked shaky on the ball but was commanding in his aerial duels.

CB: Sergio Busquets – 7.5/10 – Slotted right into the backline like it was nothing making a few crucial tackles.

LB: Jordi Alba – 6/10 – A quiet night from the veteran full-back who was lacking some sharpness when he progressed up the pitch.

CM: Yannick Bright – 6/10 – Didn’t look out of place next to Ruiz and Gomez and helped the midfield tick by spraying quick passes out wide.

CM: David Ruiz – 7/10 – Proved to Martino why he should be considered in future lineups with an impressive performance in his second start of the season.

CM: Diego Gomez – 7/10 – Was everywhere for the Herons in the middle of the park in one of his better performances of the season.

RW: Julian Gressel – 6.5/10 – His delivery was on point once again as he setup the opening goal for Suarez.

ST: Luis Suarez – 7/10 – Started strong with the opening goal but failed to put away multiple chances as the game wore on.

LW: Robert Taylor – 6/10 – Put in a shift on the defensive end despite his struggles going forward.

SUB: Tomas Aviles (65′ for Bright) – 6/10 – Bolstered the backline to prevent Miami from conceding in the final half hour of play.

SUB: Leo Alfonso (77′ for Taylor) – N/A

SUB: Pep Casas (77′ for Gressel) – N/A

Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino – 6/10 – Did the best with what he had available and it’s not his fault that Suarez missed several big chances to seal the victory for the team.

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