New York City Football Club host Inter Miami CF on Saturday night.
For this edition of 'The Away End' presented by Berkeley College & Rennert International, we spoke to Chris Wittyngham, radio commentator for Inter Miami.
Hi Chris, thanks for speaking with us. How long have you been covering Inter Miami?
From the beginning! From the announcement of expansion to the construction of a new stadium to the opening game at LAFC. Called all but the opening game for radio and TV as well.
What’s been your favorite moment covering the team?
I think the opening day at LAFC, even in a 1-0 defeat. The winding journey for MLS to come back to South Florida was really difficult for a fan to experience. To actually see a team wearing a Miami badge in MLS, and to do it in a place that signifies how far MLS has come, was truly special. It was hard to not leave the ground feeling an immense sense of pride. Although, showing a bit of recency bias, Miami's 3-2 win last Saturday over Charlotte FC, which was Inter Miami's first win coming back from 2 goals behind in club history, wasn't too far away from the top of the list.
How would you describe the team's 2022 season so far?
It's been a season of immense change. So many players in and out. And now you're really starting to see the Herons lay down some foundations. They've been on a playoff level pace for the last 15 games and have discovered some players you figure will be part of the long term. Drake Callender started the year as a 3rd choice goalkeeper and after earning a chance has become one of the better goalkeepers in the league by the numbers. Leonardo Campana entered as a striker who might earn a chance to get some minutes and now has 8 goals.
Who would you describe as Miami's dangerman?
Campana is nursing an injury. Inter Miami would hope to see him play at the weekend and bring his very solid hold up play and smart runs to put himself in positions to score. But even without him, new designated player Alejandro Pozuelo is the man to watch at the moment. He made an instant impact last weekend in drawing attention from defenders to open the game up and possessing the skill to play out of that trouble. The former MLS MVP can only kick on from here after more time on the training ground with his teammates. Gonzalo Higuain also has goals in his last 2 MLS games and could be reinvigorated by the introduction of Pozuelo.
What do you think will be the decisive factor in Saturday's game?
How Inter Miami cope with the star-studded attack of NYCFC and the particular home-field advantage City have at Yankee Stadium. Miami will be without center back Damion Lowe who has started all but 2 games in MLS, so how the defense adjusts without him will be key in dealing with Taty Castellanos in his Yankee Stadium farewell and the slew of attackers NYCFC start with and can bring off the bench who can all change the game.
For any of our fans that may be in Miami for a game in the future, are there any spots you'd suggest they check out?
I've seen a few City fans that made the trip in and around DRV PNK Stadium when they've visited before! Obviously, there is so much to do in South Florida, but if you're looking for a good hang pre or post-match that's near the stadium, I'd recommend the Funky Buddha brewery which is about 10 minutes away from the ground and is South Florida's best local brewery by some distance for me.