Touchline Talk presented by Al-Flex
Inter Miami CF suffered a narrow defeat on the road against the Columbus Crew on Wednesday night at Lower.com Field in Ohio. The first of two meetings this 2022 MLS regular season against Columbus was tightly contested, with both teams evenly sharing possession of the ball on the night.
Head coach Phil Neville emphasized that at this stage of the season, composure plays a major role in the team’s playoff aspirations.
“Experience tells you that in the last seven games [of the season], you’re going to drop points; it’s how you recover from dropping those points, it’s how you bounce back. It’s not a time in the season to panic, or rip up the rulebook and do something different. It’s about having trust and belief in each other, and I have incredible trust in this group of players.”
Neville also stressed that crucial matches play an important role in providing players with experience in major, high stakes situations. This experience, Neville maintains, will allow the players to rise to even greater heights as the season winds down.
“The thing I loved about the game tonight, was that it felt like a playoff game. I said to them at the end that the next six games will help us prepare for where we want to get to in terms of the enormity of the games, the expectations, the crowd, and the pressure,” Neville said. “At this point in time, we cannot back off. You’re going to win by attacking and that’s what I want them to do. I want them to attack, I want them to be on the front foot, I want them to enjoy their football and this experience. It’s the time of the season when you have to grind. It’s a test of mental strength, it’s a test of how much more you want it than your opponent. I want us to enjoy the grind.”
Defender Ryan Sailor, who made a crucial goal line clearance at the start of the second half to maintain an even scoreline, supported Neville’s message about the remaining six matches.
“Every team is fighting to get in the playoffs, and there are a lot of teams in contention. I think today showed us that every single game is going to be like that, and we’re going to be prepared to battle every single game to make it [to the playoffs].”
Inter Miami returns from a ten day break to face the Chicago Fire FC on Sept. 10, at SeatGeek Stadium. The match kicks off at 8 p.m. ET, and will be broadcast on My33, UniMás and the Inter Miami App.