FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Inter Miami CF earned a 0-1 win over the Supporters’ Shield champion New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium to close its second MLS season on Sunday with three points and a clean sheet. Heineken Man of the Match Blaise Matuidi scored the winning goal, his first of 2021.“The qualities that we showed today are the qualities of a successful team and the qualities of a team that we needed to see more of this season. I knew all week that we were going to win this game. I just had a feeling,” said head coach Phil Neville. “We had a team that was on the same bus, we had a team that was never going to let a goal in and that’s why I am proud of them tonight.”
Inter Miami CF Midfielder Federico Higuaín will Retire at the End of 2021 Season
Inter Miami made three changes to the starting lineup from its last match, with John McCarthy playing in goal in place of the injured Nick Marsman, Rodolfo Pizarro returning to the XI in place of Federico Higuaín, and Julián Carranza making his first start since September, replacing Gonzalo Higuaín. The opening stages of the match were primarily played in transition, with both sides searching for opportunities to break down stout defenses. A few chances came to Inter Miami beginning in the 19th minute, when Lewis Morgan delivered a corner into the center of the box where Nicolás Figal rose above everybody else to meet it, but his header went over the bar. In the 35th minute, Morgan delivered a free kick to the far post from the edge of the right side of the box, meeting Brek Shea, but his header was claimed by New England goalkeeper Matt Turner. In the 44th minute, sharp buildup play between Leandro González Pirez, Morgan and Pizarro resulted in the Mexican midfielder playing a ball to Carranza at the top of the box, but his shot went over. The team also made a number of notable defensive interventions throughout the half, including a 28th minute recovery run by Gregore to pick the ball off of Gustavo Bou and deny his dangerous run on the edge of the box. In the 29th minute, McCarthy was tested for the first time, saving a powerful shot from Bou from just inside the box. In the 44th minute, Figal stuck with Tajon Buchanan’s run in the box, forcing him wide and blocking his shot, sending the match into halftime scoreless. Inter Miami struck first, opening the second half with a goal in the 58th minute. Morgan beat his man with a run down the right wing and sent a cross into the box that was touched down by Pizarro in front of goal and taken on the turn by Blaise Matuidi, who fired a shot on goal that was deflected and found the back of the net to make it 0-1. The goal was Matuidi’s first of the season, while the assist was Pizarro’s seventh, and the secondary assist took Morgan’s total up to four in 2021. The team defended stoutly to maintain its lead throughout the remainder of the match, including an 84th minute headed clearance off the line by González Pirez. LGP denied more pressure from New England with a number of defensive headers and a notable sliding tackle, maintaining the clean sheet through the final whistle and handing New England just its second home loss of 2021. The match marked the close of the Inter Miami’s second season which featured Club milestones and team records, including the signings of the Club’s first Homegrown Academy graduates – Edison Azcona, Ian Fray and Felipe Valencia – and Fort Lauderdale CF players – Dylan Castanheira and Sami Guediri – making good on one of the Club’s pillars of player development. The season also saw Azcona become the Club’s first Academy graduate to feature for the First Team when he made his MLS debut against Nashville SC in a draw on May 2. The team’s second season in MLS also saw it open DRV PNK Stadium to its loyal fans, selling out at various capacities in accordance with COVID-19 protocols, including a match against D.C. United on May 29 which sold out at a capacity of 15,945, and eventually a full-capacity sellout of 18,535 on Sept. 17 against the New York Red Bulls. Fans consistently created electric atmospheres in home matches, boosted by La Familia – the Club’s official Supporters’ Groups. The team also made Club history with a run of 11 matches with only one loss, and six unbeaten. It also featured single-match team records, including the most goals scored in a single match and largest margin of victory in team history in a 5-1 win over FC Cincinnati.
Inter Miami FC contributed to this game recap