Higuain Nets a Hat-Trick as Inter Miami and Cincinnati Draw

Miami Cincinnati Higuain Draw

Ft. Lauderdale, FLInter Miami CF and FC Cincinnati played to a 4-4 draw in an epic match Saturday night at DRV Pink Stadium where Gonzalo Higuain scored a hat-trick in the first half for the Herons. In spite of losing the lead, Miami tied the game in the final minute of stoppage time on a Chris Mcvey goal.

The Starting XI saw Damion Lowe inserted back into the lineup. As well as that, the Herons shifted to a 3-4-3 formation to face FC Cincinnati, going away from their usual 4-3-3.

The first minutes had Miami with a relentless attack in the Cincy area. The Herons not only had possession of the ball but were creating clear scoring opportunities.

The Luck of the Draw

Robert Taylor was fouled by Geoff Cameron just outside the Cincy box at the 22’ minute, setting up a Gonzalo Higuain free kick. Higuain scored a GOLAZO with a sonic boom blast into the upper corner of the Cincinnati goal. Miami led 1-0.

Cincinnati tied the game off a Brenner sliding goal just five minutes later. 

The “Maestro”, Alejandro Pozuelo threaded a gorgeous pass to Gonzalo Higuain at the 37’ minute that led to a stone-cold finish by the striker. Gonzalo stopped the ball with quality, left the goalie on the ground, and blasted the ball into the back of the net. Miami led 2-1.

Brenner once again scored to tie the game 2-2 at the 40’ minute. Luciano Acosta placed a wonderful pass behind the Heron defense for a charging Brenner, who left Ryan Sailor behind only to watch the goal. Sailor was out of position and could have possibly pulled up to cause Brenner to be offside. 

A penalty kick was called in Miami’s favor just before the end of the first half. The inspired Gonzalo Higuain scored masterfully, fooling the goalkeeper. The Herons entered halftime with a 3-2 lead. A one-goal lead seemed too small for the apparent control of the game IMCF had.

Brandon Vazquez tied the game at the 81’ minute. The Herons continued to allow silly goals for Cincy, 3-3.

Vazquez scored again at the 86’ minute giving FC Cincinnati the lead 4-3 with what appeared to be the game-winning goal.

The fantastic match would end with a Chris Mcvey left-footed rip at the 7’ minute of stoppage time, tying the game 4-4. The stadium crowd went wild after the score, letting out the final burst of emotion in a wild match. 

Inter Miami Postgame Press Conference

A visibly frustrated Phil Neville did not mince words in the postgame conference.

“Defensively we were as poor as we have been all season. I feel as if that is a massive, massive, massive two points dropped.”

Inter Miami CF looked like the clearly superior team on the pitch Saturday night against FC Cincinnati. The Herons dictated the flow of the match, with Alejandro Pozuelo and Gonzalo Higuain demonstrating all their class. Cincy came in with the plan to counter-attack the Herons, and it worked to perfection. 

Miami had full control of the match, except in the few counters that Cincy produced off Miami turnovers. The team found itself out of position, and the line of three center backs was not able to contain the Cincy attackers. 

Ryan Sailor was given a huge responsibility by Neville to play the center in the line of three. It shows how much confidence the coach has in his rookie defender, but it also exposed Sailor. Ryan made several mental mistakes and found himself out of position throughout the match.

The young defender has been solid all season, and the game against Cincy should be a learning experience for him and for the coach. The backline needs to be tweaked with greater speed and experience if the team is going to continue to use that formation. I’d like to see Gibbs, Mcvey, and Lowe play together at some point. 

Final Thoughts

The roller coaster ride for Inter Miami CF and its fans continued on Saturday night. An amazing display of attacking quality was wasted by a dreadful defensive effort. The best and worst of Miami was on display in the same game. 

The Herons moved the ball around with great ease against Cincy but were vulnerable to the speedy counter. MLS teams have noticed this weakness and will continue to try and take advantage. This glaring fault needs to be addressed immediately, and once again Phil has his hands full.

Ryan Sailor had his worst game for the Herons against Cincy. The rookie defender has been great, and consistent. That is the reason why Phil trusts him so much. Sailor was put in a tough position on Saturday night against a very good front line. This is part of the process for any professional player. His reaction moving forward will say a lot about the type of player he is and will be for Miami.

Higuain on the Draw

Gonzalo Higuain is redeeming himself during the most crucial stretch of the season for the Herons. His performance was stellar, displaying his innate ability to put the ball in the back of the net. 

Gonzalo was really irritated with the result, and his face was an open book. He could not understand why the team did not learn from its first-half mistakes to play better in the second half. Higuain felt as though Miami was well aware as to what to expect from Cincinnati and just didn’t execute properly.

I asked Gonzalo if he felt he could have played ninety minutes, and he said, “ Yes, I could have played.”  

Coach Neville felt as though Gonzalo was starting to tire and put Leonardo Campana in. Normally, I would say that the move was a no-brainer, but not Saturday night. Higuain was in a zone, feeling unstoppable. On special nights like that, I feel as though you let your star player finish the game. 

Campana could have been brought in to play with Higuain. Then, have the team shift to a 3-5-2 to allow both strikers to cause havoc for Miami while solidifying the defense. 

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times Saturday night at DRV Pink Stadium. The roller coaster ride continues, taking everyone to extreme highs and sudden deep drops. 

📸: Inter Miami CF

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