BY STEVE BRENNER
DAVID BECKHAM’S first season as an MLS owner ended with a nightmare in Nashville.
The former England skipper was praying his Inter Miami side could keep their play-off dream alive.
But Goldenballs watched in horror as fellow newcomers Nashville — bossed by Englishman Gary Smith — roared into the next round with a 3-0 win.
The boys from Music City knew from the moment ex-Juventus and Chelsea hitman Gonzalo Higuain was ruled out with Covid that Miami were sunk.
Higuain, along with brother Federico and defender Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, all tested positive and boss Diego Alonso’s plans were ripped to shreds.
The Uruguayan said: “We knew the difficulties we were facing, missing some players, but it’s not an excuse.
“The last two weeks have been complex and complicated because it was tough for us to train.
“But we feel hurt for losing and ashamed for our fans because we couldn’t get the win.
“They have been here for us during a very difficult year.”
The Covid blow was the final nail in the coffin for Inter, who started off the season by losing five straight games and ended up winning just seven from 23.
The other star signing, Mexican Rodolfo Pizarro, has been off the pace.
Former Juventus midfielder Matuidi was poor in Nashville and partly to blame for two of the three goals, while Pizarro was anonymous.
Miami defender AJ DeLaGarza said: “We weren’t good enough and not prepared well.
“Too many guys don’t speak Spanish, too many don’t speak English, and that leads to not communicating on the field.
“You could write a book about everything that has happened to us this year. It would be a long book, too.”
Meanwhile Thierry Henry’s Montreal Impact were sunk by a dramatic 95th-minute winner in their play-off clash with New England Revolution.