New Inter Miami coach Phil Neville will look to give co-owner David Beckham a victory against his former club when Inter hosts the LA Galaxy on Sunday afternoon in both teams’ season opener.
Neville, Beckham’s former teammate with Manchester United and the England national team, is part of a technical staff overhaul after Miami fell short of expectations in its initial season.
Inter made the postseason, but only in an expanded field after finishing 10th in the Eastern Conference. And after it lost its first postseason game, Inter Miami parted ways with former technical director Paul McDonough and manager Diego Alonso.
Now Neville hopes to wipe the slate clean.
“Ultimately, these are the best moments,” Neville said. This is why I took the job. This is why you get into football, for the big moments when you actually go out there and you are playing for the three points.”
Unlike Alonso, Neville has had a full preseason with former Juventus stars Gonzalo Higuain and Blaise Matuidi, who arrived in last year’s secondary transfer window. But he might also have to navigate some roster turmoil.
Miami was forced to exercise a buyout of young attacker Matias Pellegrini’s contract this week to comply with roster rules and lend him to its reserve team. He won’t be allowed to play in MLS this season.
The league also has determined Miami was not in compliance with those rules last season and could eventually level sanctions.
Meanwhile, the LA Galaxy finds itself in a rare position outside the spotlight.
Mexican stars Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez and Jonathan dos Santos are still there. And first-year manager Greg Vanney has plenty of experience managing big names from his previous tenure guiding Toronto FC to an MLS Cup and three finals.
But the aura of the squad this year is one of quiet confidence, Chicharito says, relative to the pressure that Mexico’s all-time international scoring leader faced when he first arrived in Los Angeles last year.
“We are just ready,” Chicharito said. “We’re ready. The energy is very much confidence about the future.”
–Field Level Media
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