Robbie Robinson is a 21-year-old striker from Camden, South Carolina. He currently plays for Major League Soccer’s newest club, Inter Miami CF. After a memorable moment of getting a call from former Manchester United and Real Madrid superstar David Beckham, Robbie Robinson learned he was on the move to Miami. He was selected as the number one overall pick in the 2020 MLS Superdraft.
Typically, these player selections are designed to be for the future of the club. It is not common for a young player from the Super Draft to be immediately put into the starting eleven, however, Robbie Robinson has started both matches for Inter Miami this season. Perhaps his early inclusion is due to his fantastic goal scoring record at the college level. The 6’2″ tall striker lead the line for one of the NCAA Division I most notorious programs, Clemson. The young phenom scored eighteen goals in nineteen matches, although only starting fourteen as the out-and-out striker. Notable accolades include two hattricks in league play as well as nine assists for the Tigers. This meant that he was involved in twenty-seven goals in nineteen matches, making him a credible threat in and around the box.
Beckham and Diego Alonso, the newly appointed manager, will be hoping Robinson’s goalscoring form continues at the professional level. In Inter Miami’s first two matches, he failed to score, however, there were moments of promise that were encouraging. If Inter Miami is to find form, they must find the back of the net more often. Their only goal came from Mexican international Rodolfo Pizarro, who will be looking to find a good connection on the pitch with the upcoming Robinson. This tactical analysis and scout report will examine how Robinson affects Inter Miami’s play.
Getting into the Box
One of the key traits that Robinson brings to the table is his willingness to get in the box in dangerous areas. He is a true central striker who does not waste any time taking up positions. This is reflected in Alonso’s tactics for Inter Miami. In a recent analysis piece on the site, we showed Alonso’s preference to get the ball out wide. He wants forward runs from the wide players in order to deliver dangerous balls in and around the box.
With talented players such as Lewis Morgan and Pizarro as a part of the front three, this allows Robinson to focus on his tasks. Getting into the box early eliminates any need for sophisticated link-up play. While Robinson is definitely comfortable linking up play when needed, he prefers to get forward and be against the last defender.
The analysis below shows Alonso’s tactics taking into effect. Here, Pizarro drives the ball forward down the wing. There is a three versus two scenario developing in the picture. There are options for Robinson to link-up play with Pizarro and show as an option. Another option would be to dart in between the two centre backs and make a run down the line. Both of these options seem reasonable considering the situation the Inter Miami forwards find themselves in. However, Robinson decides to take a different approach.
Robinson decides to immediately bolt towards the box while Pizarro drives down the line. This highlights a couple of factors about Robinson’s play and Inter Miami’s tactics. There is trust prevalent between Robinson and Pizarro. Pizarro knows he has the ability to drive forward with the ball, leading for Robinson’s freedom to get into positions where he is most dangerous to score. Robinson has a tendency to stay extremely central during matches. This helps his chance to score as he utilises his good height and presence in the box.
Robinson in Defensive Transition
The MLS debutant plays a key role in the defensive set up for Inter Miami too. His job as the main striker becomes important as other teams gain possession in their half of the pitch. While it seems trivial to suggest Robinson is important in the defensive set up considering his position as an attacker, not all strikers are capable of doing what Robinson does. He has a knack of reading passing lanes and getting himself in position to cause disruption.
Most strikers will switch off when defending but the young striker out of Clemson does not. This is important for Alonso as he knows that having a cohesive defensive unit will be crucial for his side as they get used to the play in the MLS. In both matches this season, Inter Miami did not earn the lions share of possession, making it important to stay active in transition.
In the analysis below, Robinson is seen at the top of the defensive shape. Inter Miami has five defenders on the backline, eliminating any threat from D.C. United. The midfield has a decent shape while Robinson tucks in to cut off passing lanes. As highlighted earlier, he does a fantastic job in this department.
Here, the D.C. Untied midfielder attempts to connect a pass in the midfield, but Robinson’s positioning allows him to force an interception. Immediately, Inter Miami can launch a counter-attack as their forwards race to catch up to Robinson, who is driving with the ball. His ability to take up these positions can be incredibly important. This action resulted in a goal after Robinson continued to run with the ball, yet another part of the game he does very effectively.
Earlier in this scout report, Robinson’s tendency to get into the box was highlighted. While he possesses that trait, Robinson also has fantastic ability when making forward runs. Due to his position on the last defender, Robinson can utilise his legs to get in behind. The Inter Miami midfielders are aware of this and constantly look for him when given time and space. Having the ability to get in behind causes problems for opposing centre-backs who constantly have to be ready for that quick moment of acceleration.
In the example below, Robinson finds space in between the centre-backs and looks towards the midfielder. A beautiful ball is played over the top of the LAFC defence and into the path of Robinson who is taking up a great position. While the shot did not find the back of the net, Robinson took the right steps to get the opportunity. That is incredibly important for such a young player, especially at the striker position. As long as he is given the confidence, Robinson will start to convert the chances.
The young striker from Camden, South Carolina, has a lot of potential that can be nurtured as the MLS season continues. While we do not know the full extent of his ability at the professional level yet, he has certainly shown moments of promise. The 2019 Hermann Trophy winner (awarded to the NCAA’s best player) has pace, a good touch and an eye for goal. Specifically, Robinson’s main strength identified in this analysis and scout report is his intelligence and positional ability. Inter Miami’s coaching staff and Alonso can help him with finding the back of the net. Robinson himself even acknowledged this when he said “some players were telling me maybe I should’ve shot more, even if it’s a bad angle. They trust me that my shot is good enough to be able to shoot from the outside or even the corner of the box. That’s something I can improve on — just taking those opportunities and going for a goal.”
The important trait of being able to get in these positions at the highest level is why he starts for Inter Miami. The American gets himself into fantastic positions that will soon pay dividends. He has height, athleticism, and a high footballing IQ which will all serve him well as he looks to make himself a household name. He will certainly achieve that if he finds his form and perhaps he may get another exciting FaceTime from David Beckham.