Touchline Talk presented by Al-Flex
Inter Miami CF defended home territory and claimed all three points on Saturday night against New York City FC; a pair of goals from Heineken Man of the Match Alejandro Pozuelo on either side of a goal from Ariel Lassiter secured the victory for the Herons and launched the club into playoff contention.
Entering this game at second place in the Eastern Conference standings, New York City FC opened scoring, but Inter Miami quickly responded with Pozuelo’s first goal for the club mere minutes later. Pozuelo would be instrumental in Inter Miami’s second goal as well, being involved in the build up play for Lassiter to score and bring the game level. Pozuelo wasn’t finished, and brought his goal tally for the night to two as he pounced on a lackadaisical pass from the New York City defense, and rifled a shot into the back of the net.
With his brace tonight, Pozuelo brings his record to nine goals and five assists in 12 games against New York City FC, finishing the evening with an 86% pass rate and delivering two key passes.
Head Coach Phil Neville was exuberant with the team’s relentless effort in a crucial match and the fact that the players never wavered despite going behind twice.
“You’ve got to go for it, you can’t leave anything on the field. We’re going to have a long offseason to rest and recover and go to the beach, now is time to leave everything on the field,” Neville said. “We’re going to go for it every minute of every game, whether we’re home or away. We’re a team that’s got brilliant flexibility and adaptability. They love being adaptable and we’ve got players that can change games at any moment.”
Neville also praised the team’s medical and technical staff, who played a vital role in enabling the team to continue the war of attrition against NYCFC until the final whistle.
“The fighting quality, along with the fitness, is something that you cannot teach or coach. And it’s the greatest quality that any team can have because that shows that they are committed to fighting right to the very end. I think in life if you have a quality of never giving up, you’re going to be successful. And that’s what we’ve got, that quality. You can hear it [in the locker room], they love each other. We’ve got 22 players now that are just committed to being successful.”
Pozuelo, whose first and second goals for the club came during a pivotal game for the season, was thrilled with the evening’s result against a formidable opponent.
“I’m really happy. The truth is we needed the three points. We understood the importance of this game, and getting another three points at home to be able to keep the momentum going. I think we played a good game; we created a lot of chances against a team that I think is one of the best in the MLS. I’m happy about scoring the goals and being able to help the team.”
Pozuelo also commented on the effortless chemistry that he developed with his squadmates.
“I’m happy with the team’s work. I came here with a lot of enthusiasm, eager to help the team. I feel good, and I’m recovering the confidence I had before, which is also thanks to the players and the coaching staff… When I got here, I knew that we had good players and had a team that was competitive. Right now, the dynamic of the team is good. It’s a group that gets along very well. The truth is that we are very united, and it shows on the field. We never give up. The team keeps fighting, and it shows.”
Inter Miami hosts Pozuelo’s former team Toronto FC in its next match, on Saturday, August 20 at 8 p.m. ET at DRV PNK Stadium. Stream the game live regionally on My33, UniMás and the Inter Miami App, or be a part of the action and cheer on La Rosa Y Negra at DRV PNK Stadium, tickets are available HERE.