Touchline Talk presented by Al-Flex
Inter Miami CF clinched a spot in the Audi 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs in emphatic fashion tonight with 4-1 victory over in-state rivals Orlando City SC. The resounding victory at DRV PNK stadium was set to the soundtrack of La Familia’s electric support for the entire match; the Inter Miami fans answered the call sent out by head coach Phil Neville and Gonzalo Higuaín earlier this week and packed DRV PNK Stadium from the pitch to the rafters.
Leonardo Campana opened the scoring in the very first minute, setting the tone for the evening as the Herons looked to establish their strength at home early. Higuaín continued his scorching run of form, scoring in the 38th minute, and again in the 52nd. Ariel Lassiter completed the rout of the visitors four minutes later with a goal of his own.
Higuaín, whose potent attacking prowess in recent months has played a vital role in the team’s playoff aspirations, brought his season tally to 16 goals; the Argentinean scored 14 goals and provided 2 assists in the last 16 games. The Heineken Man of the Match was full of praise for his teammates, noting that while the night’s victory was important, there is still more to come.
“Without a doubt the most important thing about this team is not only do they believe,” Higuaín said, “but they keep hope intact. We were aiming to reach this objective, but the most important thing is being able to give it all, because you can’t always win. There is only one team that can be champion; if not, futbol would be too easy. It’s a long season, and it’s a very tough road, but the hope is there. Seeing my teammates this happy and proud makes me very eager to give it my all. I want to win, and I want to finish my career with the title. That would be the icing on the cake to win with this team, because this team is giving its all to give me a good farewell.”
Higuaín also took a moment to thank the fans, Inter Miami’s loyal supporters who turned DRV PNK Stadium into a fortress this season.
“Tonight I lived one of the best nights of my career, because this team has been fighting after such a tough start that we had at the beginning of the year. Now, I feel very happy. I was able to live and experience all the dreams that I’ve had, now the next is to be champion, and be a champion with this fan base, with this team, with these teammates. Tonight I would like to thank them, the fans, this club, and my family.”
Head coach Neville, who has overseen the team’s growth and improvement over the course of the 2022 season, expressed his pride in his squad’s performances, but kept his focus on the coming fixture against Montreal.
“I’m proud of them, but this is just the start. We’ve got another big game on Sunday, and I’ve told them I want a home playoff. That’s the aim now. There’s another big challenge. In life, you cannot stand still; you stand still, people overtake you. I’ve told them that if we get a home playoff that teams coming to DRV PNK Stadium more often than not lose. It gives us a really good chance and I think it’s worth fighting for on Sunday.”
Neville also noted that the team had higher aspirations than just clinching a playoff spot, and wanted to challenge to be Audi 2022 MLS Cup winners with the support of the fans.
“We’ve overcome big obstacles. We’ve overcome so much this year; people writing us off, questioning us, doubts from outside, and the player’s have just kept going. They’re on the brink of something really special. I think we’re nearly there. Sunday is Fan Appreciation Day. We’re doing this for them, for the heartbeat. We want the stadium full; the players deserve the stadium full. Inter Miami fans need to fill that stadium on Sunday, raise the roof, and take us over the line.”
Inter Miami CF hosts CF Montreal in its final home game of the 2022 MLS regular season campaign. The match kicks off at 2:30 p.m. ET at DRV PNK Stadium, and carries with it the potential for a home playoff match for the Herons. Be a part of the home crowd and show your support for the team as they get ready to take their momentum into the Audi 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs. Discounted tickets, beginning at $25, are available for Fan Appreciation Week for the final match of the MLS Regular Season. Learn more about Fan Appreciation Week here and secure discounted tickets here.