Inter Miami CF (7W-5D-9L, 26 points) earned a 0-1 win over FC Cincinnati at TQL Stadium on Saturday night. The team kept its second consecutive clean sheet in the match and extended its unbeaten run to four in a row and eight of the last nine. Heineken Man of the Match Brek Shea netted the late winner for the team, registering his second goal of 2021, while Nicolás Figal provided the pinpoint pass on the goal for his second assist of the season.
Inter Miami entered the match with four changes to the starting XI from its previous match; Gregore returned from his yellow card suspension, Kelvin Leerdam and Brek Shea slotted in as wingbacks, and Indiana Vassilev occupied the right wing, making his second start for the team.
The opening stages of the match were played at a steady pace. Inter Miami’s first moment of danger came in the 10th minute, when Vassilev threaded a through ball behind the defense into Lewis Morgan, but he couldn’t quite get a touch to the ball in front of goal.
The young American winger continued to threaten throughout the half; in the 15th minute, Vassilev chested the ball to himself on the edge of the box and attempted a volley but the shot went over the bar. In the 25th minute, he megged a defender, dribbling into the box and hitting a ball across the face of goal that Shea met at the back post, but his shot hit Morgan on the ground and it went over.
On the defensive side, Christian Makoun and Leandro González Pirez made important interventions in the first half, including a sliding clearance in the box by LGP and a critical tackle by Makoun to dispossess a Cincinnati player in the box. The pair helped Inter Miami enter the break with its clean sheet intact, as the match was scoreless at halftime.
Inter Miami made a pair of changes in the second half, first bringing on Robbie Robinson for Leerdam and later Victor Ulloa for Vassilev. The team created a few chances throughout the second half, with opportunities falling to the feet of Gonzalo Higuaín and Robinson, but the Cincinnati defense held firm.
In the 90th minute, however, Inter Miami found its breakthrough goal; Figal pinged a perfect long ball to a well-timed run by Shea behind the defense, who softly controlled the pass in the box. Shea then struck a shot over the onrushing keeper for the late winner. The goal was Shea’s second of the season, with the first also coming against FC Cincinnati at TQL Stadium. The assist, meanwhile, was Figal’s second of 2021.
Heineken Man of the Match
Wingback Brek Shea was named Heineken Man of the Match for his late heroics, scoring a 90th minute winner to secure three points for Inter Miami.
“The spirit in the dressing room is fantastic. We have players that have not had many games coming in and making a real impact like Brek Shea tonight,” said head coach Phil Neville. “The players keep fighting hard, the spirit and togetherness is really good, we’re keeping clean sheets, we’re working really hard for each other, we’re defending well from the front...the momentum and the confidence keeps going.”
Inter Miami will return to South Florida for its next match, taking on the Columbus Crew at DRV PNK Stadium Saturday, Sept. 11 at 8 p.m. ET.
Tickets for next Saturday's match can be found here.