Inter Miami CF (9W-5D-13L, 32 points) fell 1-0 to the Portland Timbers at Providence Park in a tightly-contested match.
Inter Miami made three changes to the starting lineup from its last match; Nicolás Figal and Gregore both returned from suspensions and slotted into the XI, replacing Kelvin Leerdam and Blaise Matuidi. Brek Shea also returned to the starting lineup, replacing Kieran Gibbs.
Inter Miami got off to a quick start in its first West Coast road trip of the season, creating a chance in the first minute; Lewis Morgan crossed to Shea at the top of the box, who struck a shot towards goal that was deflected and saved by the keeper.
The team’s defense also impacted the proceedings in the first half, including a notable sliding challenge by Shea to block Dairon Asprilla’s shot in the box in the 20th minute. Minutes later, Leandro González Pirez made a similar intervention, picking the ball off of Asprilla in the box with a well-timed sliding tackle.
Both teams created half chances throughout the remainder of the half, but neither was able to find an opening goal, sending the match into halftime scoreless.
It was the visitors who again threatened first when the second half opened; in the 50th minute, Gregore whipped a ball towards the back post where it met Shea, who cut a pass back to Higuaín just inside the box, who delivered a left-footed shot towards goal that drew a reaction save.
In the 71st minute, Inter Miami again tested the Portland keeper; Higuaín chipped a ball into Shea in the box, who controlled on the turn and fired a shot from a narrow angle that drew another reaction save.
It was Portland, however, who would open the scoring. In the 83rd minute, Jaroslaw Niezgoda met a delivery from a corner in the box and headed into the back of the net.
The team responded immediately following Portland’s goal, seemingly finding an equalizer in the 86th minute only to have it disallowed by the referee’s whistle; Blaise Mautidi, who came on early in the second half, whipped a cross into the box from the left wing that Julián Carranza, another second-half substitute, rose up and headed it into the back of the net, but the referee claimed there was a foul, disallowing the goal.
Despite continued pressure from Inter Miami for the remaining time, the match ended 1-0 in favor of Portland at Providence Park.
"My job to keep believing things can change so quickly, the gap is becoming big, and the clock is ticking" said head coach Phil Neville. "Seven games left we're going to have to probably win five or six out of our last seven games. We've done that, we've been on a run like that, but that's the run that we need to go."
Inter Miami’s road trip continues on Saturday, Oct. 9 when the team travels to Red Bull Arena to take on the New York Red Bulls. The match will kick off at 6 p.m. ET and air live on Univision, TUDN and Twitter.