In this edition of Oppo Research, Hudson River Blue spoke with Alex Windley of The Heron Outlet and The Pink Heron Press to learn more about this offseason version of Lionel Messi’s Inter Miami CF, New York City FC’s opponent tomorrow when they face off at DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale in the first-ever Noche d’Or: Here is your NYCFC d’Or vs Inter Miami d’Or preview.
1. Cash grab d’Or?
Hudson River Blue: This friendly is being held because Inter Miami missed out on the 2023 MLS Playoffs, and because Lionel Messi just won his eighth Ballon d’Or: Put them both together and you get the Noche d’Or. What do the fans and pundits in Fort Lauderdale think about this gold-plated match?
Alex Windley: Realistically, most original fans are upset. They think that it’s a cash grab and maybe shouldn’t be happening.
On the flip side, I’ve received DMs and messages from fans who maybe weren’t interested in MLS before, who are going to the match to see the team and Messi.
Also, in my personal opinion, I think this is a solid way for the team to get some minutes in before the off-season.
2. Miami will take it seriously d’Or
HRB: The game is just a friendly, and it’s right before the international break. How seriously do you think the club and players are taking it?
AW: I do think Miami will treat it seriously. Take their match against Charlotte on October 21st. They lost the game, but they were quite upset after the match that they couldn’t score. So I foresee this being quite competitive.
3. Gregore in the lineup d’Or
HRB: Who are some players that could make an appearance on Friday and make an impact?
AW: Messi will obviously be playing, haha. I want to shout out Gregore as well who just came back from injury. He’ll definitely be getting some minutes. One player who won’t be there is Josef Martinez. Miami won’t be bringing him back to the team, reportedly making the way for Luis Suarez to join in the winter.
4. The X-factor d’Or: Tata Martino
HRB: What’s the X-factor d’Or that could decide Friday’s match?
AW: The tactics Tata Martino decides to implement. I think it’ll be a game where he experiments some more to find the ideal balance of the team. I also believe that Miami’s core group of U22 players will get some game time.
5. Starting XI d’Or
HRB: Prediction time: Starting XI d’Or? Final Score d’Or?
AW: Final score? I’ll go 2-2 draw.