Inter Miami CF (14W-14L-6D, 48 points) fell 1-3 to CF Montréal on Decision Day at DRV PNK Stadium, setting the stage for an Audi 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs Round One matchup against New York City FC next matchweek.
Inter Miami made a pair of changes to the starting XI that earned a playoff-clinching win over Orlando City SC on Wednesday. Drake Callender slotted in as the starting goalkeeper; DeAndre Yedlin, Damion Lowe, Aimé Mabika and Chris McVey formed the team’s defense; Jean Mota started at the base of a midfield diamond with Indiana Vassilev and captain Gregore in front of him, while Robert Taylor lined up at the point of the diamond; Ariel Lassiter and Gonzalo Higuaín led the line in attack.
Captain Gregore returned to the mix after a suspension for yellow card accumulation, and Lassiter returned to the team’s starting XI for today’s matchup in place of the injured Leonardo Campana. Defender Noah Allen, meanwhile, returned to a First Team matchday squad for the first time since the road game in Chicago on Sept. 10.
Montréal opened the scoring in the fifth minute of the match; Ismaël Koné won the ball in the box and Djordje Mihailovic latched onto the loose ball and finished to make it 0-1. The visitors netted a second minutes later, as Mihailovic drove towards the endline and squared a ball to Lassi Lappalainen, who connected at the far post and scored to make it 0-2.
Inter Miami then created a few chances of its own, including a pair of shots by Lassiter, first a chipped effort that went wide, and then a driven, low shot from Lassiter heading towards the far post that drew a save from the Montréal keeper.
In the 36th minute, however, Montréal extended its lead once again, taking a quick free kick that was played forward to Kei Kamara, who got in behind the defense and scored to make it 0-3 heading into halftime.
Inter Miami made a number of changes at halftime and throughout the second half, notably bringing off Higuaín for the final time in a regular season match. The Argentine left the pitch to passionate support from the home crowd in appreciation of his legendary career.
Harvey Neville also came on for his MLS debut late in the second half and made an immediate impact. The young defender got in behind the defense thanks to a threaded pass from fellow second-half substitute Bryce Duke, and Nevile’s cut back pass was deflected into the net to make it 1-3.
The scoreline didn’t change throughout the remaining minutes of the match, with Inter Miami falling 1-3 against Montréal in its final 2022 MLS regular season meeting.
"Now is where the fun begins. We're probably the only team that’s been in playoff mode the last month or two because we had to win every single game. So when we are approaching the next game it’s not ‘oh we are going into playoff mode now.’ It feels as if we’ve been in playoff mode for the last six weeks so it’s something we should be used to, looking forward to and be excited about. We are going to play another good team and we are looking forward to it.”
Next Inter Miami will face Eastern Conference third seed New York City FC on the road in Round One of the Audi 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs. The match at Citi Field will be played on Monday, Oct. 17 at 7 p.m. ET.
Celebrating Gonzalo Higuaín
The Decision Day match marked Higuaín's final regular season match of the Argentine's storied career. Inter Miami held a special moment on the field of DRV PNK Stadium prior to kickoff to celebrate the legendary striker, with owners Jorge and Jose Mas, as well as Chief Soccer Officer and Sporting Director Chris Henderson presenting him a personalized jersey signed by the team.
In Inter Miami CF’s final match of the 2022 MLS Regular Season, it celebrated its passionate fans, the Heartbeat of this Club for Fan Appreciation Day presented by Florida Blue. The first 10,000 fans that passed through the gates received an Inter Miami and Florida Blue co-branded bucket hat to mark the occasion. Fans in attendance were also eligible for giveaways and interactions with Inter Miami CF players.
Socios.com Fan of the Match
Josue Moreno, a South Florida native, La Familia member and dedicated supporter of Inter Miami, was named Socios.com Fan of the Match. Moreno, a part of the Nirvana Project with three prosthetic limbs, sings and chants at every home game.
MIA - 39%
MTL - 61%
MIA - 12
MTL - 10
MIA - 2
MTL - 3
MIA - 2
MTL - 1
MIA - 11
MTL - 8