Inter Miami coach Phil Neville was left frustrated again as his side suffered a 1-0 defeat at the hands of bottom placed Chicago Fire.
Neville warned his players to guard against complacency as he prepared for a challenging trip to Soldier Field. Chicago. His players were second best from start to finish with Fire ending a 369-minute goal drought. The score line flattered Neville and his side and Chicago Fire could and should have scored more, as they recorded their first win of the season.
Inter Miami failed to get a foothold in the game and Chicago, who were winless in four at home, continued to spurn opportunities to put the game to bed early.
Inter Miami’s coach Neville’s response to the media afterwards was damning, “The better team won, the team that looked like it wanted it more”, said a disgruntled Neville, clearly frustrated that his players didn’t turn up.
Chicago fire grew as the game went on, with an attack creating some clear cut chances early on. Fire recorded 19 shots to Miami’s 4, a show of how poor Neville’s Miami side were in an attacking sense and Inter Miami produced little throughout. The Higuain brothers came closest to breaking the deadlock in the 38th minute, combining well as Gonzalo found Federico with a cross, but his instinctive attempt ended just wide of Fire’s goal.
Luka Stojanovic’s 30 yard free kick in the 69th minute provided the only goal of the game. Stojanovic scored his third goal of the season after his long-range effort cleared Miami’s wall and goalkeeper John McCarthy could only fumble the ball into his own net. That error led to Fire’s first goal breaking a three-match scoreless streak, a run of four consecutive losses and their first victory in 12 games.
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Noteworthy Saves from McCarthy
Ironically, John McCarthy made two great saves within the first 15 minutes of the second half to keep the game scoreless. Neville heaped praise on McCarthy, who made five saves. “If it wasn’t for John, we’d have probably lost by two, maybe three goals,”
Unfortunately for Inter Miami they also lost Robbie Robinson in the 69th minute to a leg injury. Having used all five substitutions, Phil Neville’s side were forced to finish the game with 10 players.
Neville echoed the point made by fellow countryman and defender Ryan Shawcross. “Nobody comes and knocks at your door and just gives you three points, nobody comes and knocks at your door and gives you success. Nobody comes and knocks at your door and just hands it to you on a plate,” Neville said. “You have to go out there and earn the right. We didn’t, and they did and that’s why they won the game.”
Next up in a line of big soccer matches in the MLS for Inter Miami is a return to regular season action on Saturday, May 29, when the team will host D.C. United at DRV PNK Stadium and will be the first game operated at full capacity.