Inter Miami CF (5W-4D-9L, 19 points) earned a thrilling late victory over Chicago Fire FC at DRV PNK Stadium to extend its home winning streak to three. The team was led to victory by goals from Indiana Vassilev, Heineken Man of the Match Robbie Robinson and a stoppage time winner by Rodolfo Pizarro.
Inter Miami trotted out a starting XI with three changes from Saturday’s loss to New York City FC; Christian Makoun and Robbie Robinson returned to the lineup while Indiana Vassilev made his first start for Inter Miami. The trio replaced Kelvin Leerdam, Rodolfo Pizarro and Victor Ulloa.
The match began at a steady pace, with Inter Miami slowly emerging as the team in control of possession. After a few chances, the hosts broke through with the opening goal; in the 34th minute, a beautifully worked transition saw Lewis Morgan play a cutting pass from the right wing to Gonzalo Higuaín, who swiftly turned, opened his body and played a pass to the run of Robinson from the left wing. Robinson then curled a shot from just inside of the box that was saved, but Vassilev met the rebound in the box and slotted it into the back of the net for a 1-0 lead. The goal was Vassilev’s second for Inter Miami.
Chicago, however, responded before the half was over. The visitors found an equalizing goal in the 40th minute, when Luka Stojanovic sent in a corner that Francisco Calvo rose up to meet in the box and head into the back of the net for the equalizer. The goal saw the match enter halftime level.
The visitors carried their momentum into the second half, taking the lead in the 48th minute; Chicago won the ball high up the field and got the ball to Stanislav Ivanov down the right wing, who then cut a pass back to Stojanovic in the box. The midfielder received the pass and fired a shot into the corner of the net for a 1-2 lead.
In the 62nd minute, though, Inter Miami netted an equalizer of its own; a long ball over the top from Leandro González Pirez found Higuaín, who drove towards the endline and cut a pinpoint pass back to Robinson in the box. The forward controlled the pass and blasted a shot over the onrushing keeper and into the back of the net for the equalizer. The goal was Robinson’s third of the season, while the assist was Higuaín’s third and the secondary assist was LGP’s first of the season.
Inter Miami made a handful of critical changes following the goal, first bringing on Brek Shea and Rodolfo Pizarro for Kieran Gibbs and Vassilev. Later, the team made two more substitutions, bringing on Julián Carranza and Victor Ulloa for Robinson and Blaise Matuidi.
Following the changes, the hosts kept pushing and looking for a winner. In stoppage time, Inter Miami was rewarded for these efforts; Higuaín received the ball deep in the left half-space, drove past several defenders and played a pass to Victor Ulloa at the top of the box with his back to goal. Ulloa turned and passed to Pizarro on the edge of the box, who controlled and quickly fired a curled shot into the bottom right corner of the net for the winner. The goal was Pizarro’s first of the season, while the assist was Ulloa’s second, and the secondary assist brought Higuaín’s total to two on the night and four on the season.
Heineken Man of the Match
Goal scorer Robbie Robinson was voted Heineken Man of the Match by fans for his stellar performance, including his equalizing goal.
"Our will, our character has finally changed. Successful teams have those qualities of never giving up,” said head coach Phil Neville. “All I want to see is consistent behaviors. We’ll keep climbing the Eastern Conference. When you prove people wrong, it feels and tastes a lot better."
Inter Miami will be back in action in just a few days when the team hosts Toronto FC at DRV PNK Stadium on Saturday Aug. 21 at 8 p.m. ET.
Tickets to the match can be found here.