Inter Miami vs Portland Timbers MLS Match Recap
The soccer world is set for a 16-day international break from FIFA and Inter Miami – on a five-game unbeaten streak at home – hope to be heading for layoff on a high note with a home win over the Portland Timbers on Saturday night.
Miami players DeAndre Yedlin (USA), Damion Lowe (Jamaica), Robert Taylor (Finland) and Edison Azcona (Dominican Republic) have been called up to their national teams for the four-game window. The rest of the squad won’t have any games until the MLS season resumes on June 19 with a road game against Atlanta United.
“It’s the end of a really tough streak, but it’s been a good streak, and we want to finish our momentum,” Miami coach Phil Neville said Friday before practice. “We feel like we’re playing well. There is a great complicity and everyone is in good shape.
Apart from goalkeeper Nick Marsman, who Neville says won’t be ready to return before the international break, the coach expects to be able to choose from a full squad. Drake Callender, who Neville says is the fittest goaltender in the league right now, will retain the starting position for the time being.
He said his side were still hurting and “on fire” after Wednesday night’s penalty shootout loss to Orlando City in the US Open Cup Round of 32.
“We felt like we deserved more and for the last two days I’ve been counting the players and every player wants to play (Saturday) so that’s a good sign,” Neville said. “They are angry that they lost on the last penalty, which is a disastrous way to end any game.”
Inter Miami played 131 minutes on Wednesday and Portland, MLS runners-up last year, will return with fresh legs after missing a midweek game.
Neville said he was considering resting midfielder Jean Mota on Saturday but the Brazilian, who played the whole game and scored against Orlando, insists he wants to play even if he has cramps at the end of Wednesday’s game.
“You think, ‘Should I put it down?’ but the boy is hungry,” Neville said. “For such a short guy, he has a huge heart and he will be our key player again on Saturday.”
Saturday’s game kicks off at 8 p.m. It will be televised on CBS4 and UniMas and aired on radio on 790 The Ticket.
Inter Miami (4-6-3) are aiming to extend their unbeaten run at home after four wins and a draw. The streak began on April 9 with a 3-2 win over the New England Revolution, followed by a 2-1 win over Atlanta United, a 3-1 win over USL League One side South Georgia Tormenta in the US Open Cup, a 2-2 draw against DC United and a 2-0 victory against the New York Red Bulls last weekend.
The Timbers (3-5-6) are coming off a 2-0 road loss to the Philadelphia Union. Midfielder Yimmi Chará leads the team this season with three goals and four assists.
Both teams will wear their “Primeblue” shirts, which are made from recycled materials and are part of a league-wide initiative with adidas to raise awareness of plastic pollution. Inter Miami centre-back Lowe was among the players who took part in a beach cleanup last week. “I’m from Jamaica, the beaches are beautiful. They say in Jamaica ‘Cleanliness is godliness’ so it’s something I’m attached to and believe in.”
HARVEY NEVILLE UPDATE
Neville’s son Harvey, a midfielder/defender, was waiting for his green card for a chance to be promoted from Inter Miami’s second team to the first team. He said the long wait had been frustrating, but his father says they finally got an immigration appointment in July.
“He went into the season hoping because you talk to lawyers and immigration and they say February or March, but you really know that’s not the case,” Phil Neville said. “The last three or four weeks he’s been mentally diving because he can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel and he wants to be a challenge for a place in MLS, then two or three days ago we received the email regarding the appointment so now he has a spring in his step.
CHARITY ORDER OF FOOTBALL EQUIPMENT
This Saturday, Inter Miami is organizing a collection of football equipment for underprivileged young people. Fans are encouraged to donate new or lightly used equipment to the fan gear drop-off area on the south side of the stadium from 5-8 p.m. Recommended items include: soccer balls, cleats, shin guards, socks, goalkeeper gloves, jerseys, shorts.