Miami Is Pink! Inter Miami Wins Derby Against Miami FC In Penalties

Inter Miami FC

Photo by Edwin Garcia

FIU Stadium, Miami – In an emotion-filled derby Inter Miami CF came away with the win over crosstown rival Miami FC and will head to the U.S. Open Cup Round of  32. The match was decided on penalty kicks after regulation play and thirty minutes of overtime ended in a 2-2 draw. Newly acquired Canadian international Kamal Miller scored the winning kick for the Herons.

Kick Off

The Heron’s Starting XI against Miami FC included some players receiving extended minutes for the first time all season. Ryan Sailor, along with Benjamin Cremaschi, Harry Neville, Shanyder Borgelin, and Robert Taylor were slotted in by Neville to pair with the usual starters.

The fans were barely in their seats when Miami FC surprised Inter Miami with a goal 2′ minutes into match play, a quick counter off an intercepted pass led to Christian Sorto’s strike past Drake Callender.

The Herons once again suffered a mental lapse that cost them a goal, a constant thorn. Ryan Sailor committed too high up and left Chris Mcvey on a one-on-one with Christian Sorto, and Sorto made them pay.

After the initial shock passed Inter Miami settled down and took control of the match action pushing forward without being effective. The game went to halftime with Miami FC in the lead.

Inter Miami continued dominating play in the second half creating several clear chances to score, but as has been the custom lately they were unable to put one in the back of the net. Just when it seemed the Herons would continue the losing streak, Jean Mota sent a cross into the box that was headed grandly by Shanyder Borgelin to tie the match at the 89′ minute.

90 Minutes Not Enough

The regulation play would end in a 1-1 tie, leading to thirty minutes of overtime. The end of the first fifteen minutes of overtime remained a stalemate. The second fifteen-minute period of overtime was filled with excitement.

DeAndre Yedlin scored a silly and unfortunate own goal with five minutes remaining in the second overtime period, putting the Herons down 2-1, and seemingly dooming the squad to a loss.

Somewhere along the road to perdition a miracle happened for Inter Miami CF and they were given new life.  Franco Negri lofted a heavenly cross into the box, and Ryan Sailor floated like he had wings on his back to head the ball past the diving Miami FC goalie to tie the game at 2-2.

The stadium majority roared the Golazo! Inter Miami CF was not dead after all, and perhaps their luck had changed.

The second overtime period ended and penalty kicks would decide which team would move on in the US Open Cup 2023.

Inter Miami scored all five of its penalty kicks while Miami FC missed an attempt to eliminate them from the tournament.

Postgame Press Conference

Coach Neville look tired and stressed as he began his presser. I could not help but think that the pressure of the losing streak has taken a toll on the coach. Despite the low moments in the match, Phil said that he always felt that Inter Miami would win,

“I had no doubt we were going to win, this team, regardless of the situation, never gives up,” 

This team and this coach never give up, no matter the circumstances they always battle. I don’t know how long Neville will be with the team, but I do know that his team will battle along with him until the last moment.

Ryan Sailor started a match for the first time this season, and he played a wonderful game. The young center-back is one of the reasons Inter Miami felt comfortable in moving on from Aime Mabika. I asked Ryan about the mental lapses that have led to silly goals being scored on them, and what the team can do to clean that up,

“We’re just trying to stay positive…we know we have it in us, we know we have good players we have a good team, we have a great team we know once those are out of the way our luck is going to turn eventually, and I think it did tonight.”

Final Thoughts

Inter Miami CF moves on in the US Open Cup after an agonizing victory over Miami FC, and the fanbase is not satisfied. The end of a six-game losing streak did not bring the joy a victory usually does, because people minimize how difficult it is to win a professional match.  Yes, Miami FC is a professional team that plays in the USL Championship, a lower division in the US football hierarchy. These results from other US Open Cup matches demonstrate that these teams are not pushovers for their MLS counterparts.

FC Cincinnati 1 – 0 Louisville SC              

Columbus Crew 1 – 0 Indy Eleven           

D.C. United 1 – 0 Richmond Kickers

Atlanta United 1 – 2 Memphis 901FC

Tampa Bay Rowdies 0 – 1 Houston Dynamo FC  

Nashville SC 1 – 0 San Antonio FC

Seattle Sounders 5 – 4 San Diego Loyal FC 

Some MLS teams won their matches in a more convincing fashion, but the majority won by the smallest of margins. Take the W and move on.

Jake La Cava entered the match for Nico Stefanelli, and in my opinion, showed that he needs to be considered for more playing time moving forward. Shanyder Borgelin has made his case to start and get extended minutes for the squad, he is the one scoring the goals.

Harvey Neville gets a lot of criticism, I believe mainly because of his last name. The young player has played at a good level when he has been given the opportunity and against Miami FC it was no different. Don’t be surprised if he gets more minutes as Yedlin’s minutes lessen, and it will be based on merit, not nepotism.

Benjamin Cremaschi is an interesting young player that has been given quality minutes by Neville. The coach has shown that he trusts Cremaschi and his role likely will continue to increase. Personally, I envision Benjamin in a CDM role instead of the box-to-box role he currently plays.

Ryan Sailor stepped onto the pitch and played 120′ minutes as if he had been playing all season long as a starter. Sailor is a steady player that does many things well as a center-back. One of his virtues is the fact that he rarely makes mistakes, and if he does he can atone for them like he did with his game-tying header in the second overtime period. He really is an underrated player.

Rodolfo Pizarro came in and made a difference for Inter Miami, and this is what he is supposed to do as a DP player. Let’s hope his performance against Miami FC launches him into consistent quality performances for the rest of the campaign.

Phil Neville is a dead man walking for the Herons, only a miracle can save his job and his season. That miracle could happen in the summer if Beckham gets his way.



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