Touchline Talk presented by Al-Flex
Inter Miami CF claimed all three points Saturday night at DRV PNK Stadium as the team overcame a 2-0 halftime deficit, scoring three goals in the final 31 minutes of action to secure a 3-2 home victory.
Head coach Phil Neville spoke to the media following the win, praising the team’s determined performance.
“I thought it was the best performance of the season,” Neville said “I said after training on Thursday, the players looked unbelievable the last two days. I thought we performed brilliantly in the game today. We played with determination.”
Neville also spoke glowingly of the squad’s togetherness and the culture the team is continuing to build.
“We’ve got a group of players now that love coming into Inter Miami. They’ve created their own culture, they’ve created their own identity, and I suppose the identity that we’ve seen is that this team never knows when it’s beaten, it never knows when to give up, and it scores late goals. I think a team that scores late goals and never knows when it’s beaten, is a team that is going to be successful in the future. We trust these players a lot, and we really love what we’ve seen.”
One player pivotal to Inter Miami’s second-half surge was the club’s newest signing, 2020 MLS MVP Alejandro Pozuelo, who made his club debut starting in midfield. Neville spoke about Pozuelo’s impact following the victory.
“I thought he was sensational. When we talked to him in the press conferences about taking the extra pass and composure in the final third, what happens is that when everyone else is running at 100 miles per hour, he has the composure to just put his foot on the ball, take the extra touch, maneuver the ball, protect the ball from the defender, and make the pass that matters.”
Neville also spoke highly of the play from substitute winger Emerson Rodríguez, who scored his first ever MLS goal in the 93rd minute, giving Inter Miami a 3-2 lead and sealing the win.
“I thought he had his best game in terms of the consistency of his performance. He’s a boy that’s learning, and we’re going to take the long term approach with him. He’s starting to show the things we’ve been working on with him, every single day of the week, drilling him, working him hard. He’s now beginning to understand the system, the culture, the style, and how to be a professional footballer at the top level. We’re really pleased, and very excited about how far he’s come.”
Forward Gonzalo Higuaín also made a big impact, coming off the bench in the 60th minute and scoring the game-tying goal just twelve minutes later. After scoring for a second consecutive game, Higuain spoke about his attacking boost.
“I’m happy with what I'm doing and happy to be able to help out the team. To be honest, I hope we continue to keep going on this path. We just have to keep moving forward.”
The win moved the team into ninth place in the MLS Eastern Conference standings as the team now sits just one point behind seventh place Charlotte FC and just two points behind sixth place FC Cincinnati, who visit DRV PNK Stadium on Saturday July 30th.
“I’m really pleased and proud of the players, and now we move on to Tuesday where we’re going to compete in a game of futbol, and we’re all excited to [play against FC Barcelona],” added Neville.
The team will take a break from MLS action to host global powerhouse FC Barcelona in a sold out match on Tuesday July 19th at DRV PNK Stadium. Kickoff is set for 8:00 PM ET.