MIAMI – Inter Miami CF (11W-5D-15L, 38 points) earned a comprehensive 5-1 victory over FC Cincinnati, scoring the most goals in a single match in team history and recording the largest margin of victory in team history. Gonzalo Higuaín was voted Heineken Man of the Match following his standout performance consisting of one goal and three total assists.
“We’re really pleased. It’s a time where we’ve asked for performance and action, and players have given everything, given that,” said head coach Phil Neville. “We’ve got three games left now. We’ve got to keep believing. We’ve got to go to Atlanta and win. Nothing else. And we’ve got the bit between our teeth and we’re enjoying the challenge this moment in time.”
Inter Miami made three changes to the starting lineup from its 3-0 win over Toronto FC on Wednesday. Aimé Mabika again signed on a short-term loan for the match as Inter Miami was eligible for Extreme Hardship, and returned to the XI following his MLS debut against the New York Red Bulls on Oct. 9, replacing the suspended Leandro González Pirez. Blaise Matuidi and Rodolfo Pizarro also returned to the starting lineup in place of Jay Chapman, who missed the match through injury, and Indiana Vassilev, respectively.
Inter Miami CF earned a 3-0 victory over Toronto FC in its return to DRV PNK Stadium
The hosts once again got off to a rapid start; in the sixth minute, Lewis Morgan initiated a counter, driving forward with the ball and cutting a pass to Gonzalo Higuaín near midfield, who turned and delivered a left-footed long ball down the left wing to Pizarro. The Mexican midfielder exerted maximum effort to narrowly keep the ball in play, cut back onto his right foot and cross into the box, where Federico Higuaín rose up and headed it into the ground, past the keeper and into the back of the net for the early 1-0 lead. The goal was Federico Higuaín’s second in as many games and third of the season.
Cincinnati, however, quickly responded with a goal of its own; Zico Bailey delivered a cross from the right wing into Brandon Vázquez just in front of goal, who powered a header into the back of the net to equalize in the 21st minute.
Inter Miami continued to push in search of another goal before the half was over, notably creating two dangerous attacking opportunities from Gonzalo Higuaín and Pizarro, but the match remained level for the duration of the half, sending the hosts into the break with all to play for in the second half.
Inter Miami responded with a history-making second half for the Club. In the 53rd minute, Federico Higuaín combined with Kelvin Leerdam on the right wing, received a pass, picked his head up and delivered a pinpoint cross into his brother Gonzalo in the box. The younger Higuaín rose up between a pair of defenders and headed a shot just beyond the outstretched arms of the Cincinnati keeper and inside the near post for the 2-1 lead. The goal marked the second time the Higuaín brothers combined for a goal, a feat accomplished in late April, and the second time both brothers scored in the same match; the goals also marked the third time in MLS history that two brothers scored in the same match, with the Higuaín’s doing it first in the April match against the Philadelphia Union.
In the 69th minute, a rapid counter was sprung as Pizarro again drove through the middle past the defense before laying a pass off to his right to Vassilev, who entered the match just minutes before, who then beat a defender with a stepover and fired a shot from a narrow angle into the back of the net to make it 3-1. The goal was Vassilev’s third of 2021, tied for third on the team.
Just a few minutes later, Gonzalo Higuaín slipped a through ball in behind the defense to a streaking Morgan, who controlled and drove a powerful low shot past the keeper and into the back of the net for the goal and the 4-1 lead. The goal was Morgan’s second of the season.
In the 77th minute, Ventura Alvarado was subbed on for his Inter Miami debut after signing for the Club earlier this year, replacing Kelvin Leerdam.
Five minutes later, Gonzalo Higuaín and Morgan combined in midfield and Higuaín again played a through ball to Morgan behind the defense, who then powers a left-footed effort from inside the box past the keeper, but the goal was disallowed by video review. Moments later, however, the fifth and final goal came. Pizarro again kept possession well, sprung Gonzalo Higuaín forward, who then slid a pass to Julián Carranza, who came on seconds before, behind the defense and powered a low shot past the keeper to make it 5-1. The goal was Carranza’s first of the season, while the assist was Gonzalo Higuaín’s third of the night and took his team-leading tally to nine on the season. The secondary assist, meanwhile, was also Pizarro’s third total assist of the night and took his tally to six on the season, second most on the team.
Inter Miami will hit the road for its next match, taking on Atlanta United FC at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Wednesday, Oct. 27 at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Inter Miami CF media relations contributed to this game recap