Inter Miami CF earned a 3-1 victory over South Georgia Tormenta FC in the first-ever U.S. Open Cup match at DRV PNK Stadium, sending the team through to the Round of 16. Heineken Man of the Match Ariel Lassiter netted a brace to lead the team to victory, his first two goals for Inter Miami.
Inter Miami fielded a starting XI with seven changes from the team’s last match. Drake Callender started in goal; DeAndre Yedlin, Jairo Quinteros, Chris McVey, and Joevin Jones started in defense; Mo Adams, Indiana Vassilev, and Robert Taylor lined up in midfield; Ariel Lassiter and Emerson Rodríguez flanked starting striker Gonzalo Higuaín.
Higuaín marked his return to the starting XI after recovering from an injury, while Jones made his first start for Inter Miami since his 2021 injury. Callender, meanwhile, registered his second consecutive start for the First Team. Defender Harvey Neville appeared in a First Team matchday squad for the first time in his career on a short-term loan agreement from Inter Miami CF II.
Inter Miami controlled possession throughout the first half while Tormenta FC aimed to hit on the counter. Callender made a handful of standout saves to deny the visitors after a few of their transition opportunities, including a fantastic reaction save to deny a close-range header in the 10th minute.
Inter Miami, however, opened the scoring in the match just before halftime. In the 45th minute, Adams won the ball at midfield and played the ball forward to Higuaín for a quick counter. The Argentine then played a ball to Vassilev, who patiently waited for the overlapping run of Lassiter into the box, and the Costa Rican then powered a shot past the keeper for a 1-0 lead. The goal was Lassiter’s first for Inter Miami while the assist was Vassilev’s first of the season in just his second appearance.
After making a pair of substitutions at halftime, bringing on Robbie Robinson and Victor Ulloa for Higuaín and Rodríguez, Inter Miami instantly struck to double its lead at the start of the second half. Taylor won the ball high, playing it forward to Robinson, who curled a shot from the edge of the box inside the near post to make it 2-0 less than two minutes after coming on. The goal was Robinson’s second of 2022 across all competitions while the assist was Taylor’s first for Inter Miami.
In the 65th minute, however, Robinson was sent off along with a Tormenta defender, bringing both teams to ten men.
In the 83rd minute, Inter Miami extended its lead further; Vassilev played a through ball down the right wing for a quick transition opportunity and Lassiter beat his defender with pace. The winger then calmly hit a curling strike at goal that deflected off a defender, hit the bar and crossed the line to make it 3-1. The goal gave Lassiter his brace and Vassilev his second assist.
Following the goal, Inter Miami made another pair of substitutions, bringing on Noah Allen and Neville for Yedlin and Jones. The appearance marked Neville’s first for the First Team.
South Georgia scored a goal of its own before the match was over through a Kazaiah Sterling strike in the 88th minute, but the match finished 3-1.
Heineken Man of the Match
Ariel Lassiter was voted Heineken Man of the Match after bagging a brace to guide the hosts to victory.
“We are in the next round, that’s all that matters. We want to be challenging for this competition. Everyone know the levels need to be better,” said head coach Phil Neville.
The result will send Inter Miami through to the Round of 16 of the U.S. Open Cup, with the draw for the round set to take place this Thursday, May 12. Next Inter Miami will return to action this Saturday at 8 p.m. ET when it hosts D.C. United at DRV PNK Stadium.
Individual match tickets for each remaining regular season home match on the Inter Miami CF schedule are available visiting https://www.intermiamicf.com/tickets/single. Fans can also call 305-428-0611 to learn more.