Fantastic Finish In Philly; Afonso Nets Late Game-Winner

philly afonso

Photo: IMCF

Subaru Park- Inter Miami defeated the Philadelphia Union 2-1 in dramatic fashion Saturday night with a Leo Afonso goal late into stoppage time. The heroic comeback earned the Herons 3 huge points on the road and kept them atop the Eastern Conference Standings and the Supporter’s Shield race.

Starting XI 

Inter Miami began the match in a 4-3-3 formation with Jordi Alba, Sergeii Kryvtsov, Tomas Aviles, and Marcelo Weigandt in defense. Sergio Busquets commanded the midfield flanked by Benjamin Cremaschi and David Ruiz. Robert Taylor, Leo Campana, and Julian Gressel formed the attacking front line for Miami.

Match Action

Once again, Inter Miami gave up an early score to start a match continuing a disturbing trend this season. Philadelphia center-back Jakob Glesnes filtered a long pass behind the Miami defense to a streaking Michael Uhre who outpaced Tomas Aviles and Sergeii Kryvtsov to give the Union the 1-0 lead just 3′ minutes into the match.

The early goal would be the only scoring in the first half as neither team was impressive or cohesive. Inter Miami looked befuddled and lacked creativity from its attacking players.

The second half started with a bang for Miami as Julian Gressel rocketed a volley into the Union net just two minutes in. Leo Campana initiated the play with a lobbed pass to Jordi Alba who crossed to Benjamin Cremaschi. Benja poked the ball to Gressel who just blasted the ball for the 1-1 tie. The beauty was Gressel’s first score in an Inter Miami uniform.

The squads continued to press forward sloppily with more effort than quality trying to get that second goal. Unfortunately, Inter Miami suffered two silly red card send-offs with David Ruiz (69th minute), and Tomas Aviles (84th minute) as the culprits. Down two men Miami formed a double line of four to defend and attempt a counterattack. The strategy worked as Yannick Bright won a ball on defense and placed a wonderful service behind the Philly defense to a charging Leo Afonso.

Afonso dribbled past Glesnes and placed a left-footed shot into the Philadelphia Union net to give Inter Miami the lead 4′ minutes into stoppage time. It would be the game-winning goal as the Herons held on and flew out of Philly with a massive three points.

Postgame Press Conference

I asked Tata Martino to talk about Yannick Bright and Leo Afonso, two players selected in this year’s draft who don’t play much but when they do they leave positive impressions,

I believe it’s a characteristic of a team that has the type of players that we do…When they have had their opportunities they have taken advantage…Sometimes a few minutes other times a whole game…They need to understand their roles on this team and respond when given a chance…Excellent what is happening with them

Final Thoughts

It wasn’t pretty, but the way Inter Miami battled against all odds was beautiful, especially in pulling out a massive win in Philadelphia. The Herons showed grit and resiliency in winning a match where they were two men down on the road. This is what championship-caliber teams do, they find a way where there seems to be none. It is a huge win for Miami.

Leo Campana did not score against Philly, but still contributed to the team in a big way. His initial lobb pass to Jordi Alba initiated Miami’s first score by Julian Gressel. Campana didn’t have a great game but moved around all over the attacking zone trying to help on the build-up. The talented forward needs to continue to contribute to the team in any manner he can, but scoring goals is what he needs to do. Luis Suarez finds a way to put the ball to rest in goal even if he’s not having a great game, Campana needs to do the same.

Inter Miami will have a tough slate of games while Leo Messi, Luis Suarez, and Matias Rojas are away at Copa America. The roster is thin right now, so the effort by the players has to be enormous like it was in Philly. It doesn’t have to be aesthetically pleasing but the Herons must continue to get positive results until their star players return.

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