After a pregame celebration of last year’s Supporters’ Shield triumph, the Union suffered a 2-1 loss to Inter Miami on Saturday night at Subaru Park that served as a reminder of the need to reinforce this year’s squad.
Brothers Gonzalo and Federico Higuaín scored for Miami late in the game, after Jamiro Monteiro scored early in the second half. The Union (0-1-1, 1 point) looked like the better team for most of the night, but it came to nothing.
“We wasted a lot of good performances from guys,” Union manager Jim Curtin said. “We fell asleep for two plays and were punished by a very good opponent. ... It’s been a while since one got away from us like this.”
The first half ended scoreless, with the Union looking better in the box score: five shots to one and 52.8% of the possession.
Monteiro opened the scoring in the 54th minute, jumping on a loose ball that was nominally a setup pass from Kacper Przybylko but turned into a broken play.
Curtin made his first substitution in the 62nd, sending in Cory Burke for his first action of the year to replace Santos. At the same time, Inter manager Phil Neville sent in Federico Higuaín for Rodolfo Pizarro, whom the Union had rendered mostly ineffective.
The equalizer came in the 73rd minute after Leon Flach fouled Lewis Morgan on the right wing. Federico sent in the resulting free kick and Gonzalo rose out of a crowd of players to head it past a helpless Andre Blake.
Flach nearly atoned three minutes later on a terrific Union counterattack, but his shot after a beautiful setup pass from Monteiro flew wide left.
Both teams made double substitutions in the 79th minute. Ilsinho and Anthony Fontana replaced Przybylko and Flach for the Union, and Victor Ulloa and Ryan Shawcross replaced Blaise Matuidi and Kelvin Leerdam for Miami (1-1-0, 3 points).
Miami took the lead in the 83rd with just its second shot on goal of the game from open play. This time Federico was the finisher, heading in a chipped pass from Nicolás Figal. Neville sprinted up the sideline and pumped his fists in celebration, anticipating his first win as a manager since overseeing the England women’s team’s victory over Japan in March 2020 at the SheBelieves Cup.
MLS headquarters noted that it was the first time two brothers have scored in the same game in the league’s 26-year history.
Gonzalo threatened to score with another header in the 87th, but Blake denied him with a terrific full-stretch dive.
At the start of four minutes of stoppage time, Ilsinho had to leave the game because of an injury. Rookie academy product Jack McGlynn replaced him. Those four minutes went by quickly, with the Union not creating any major chances.
“We kind of controlled the game for 75 minutes, but obviously that’s not good enough,” centerback Jack Elliott said. “Conceding from a set piece hurts, it’s one thing you never want to do. And then from there, it was difficult for us.”
A few minutes later, Elliott said “we’ll be fine,” and he’s probably right. He’ll be even more right if the Union’s pursuit of Hungarian playmaker Dániel Gazdag comes to fruition. For now it’s fair to say Gazdag would have come in handy Saturday night.