Inter Miami's Saturday victory over the Philadelphia Union was an important result in its own right for the South Florida team, but it was also one for the MLS record book. Gonzalo Higuain became the latest MLS player to score a goal assisted by his brother, before Federico Higuain scored to make them the first pair of brothers to score in the same MLS match.
"It’s great but not only because he is my brother, because when I speak about Gonzalo, I speak about a football player," older brother Federico said after the match.
The pair are hardly the first to double up as brothers and teammates in the league, and are part of an even bigger group in the game internationally. It's a connection Miami head coach Phil Neville understands well, having played with older brother Gary at Manchester United and the England national team. The two also paired up for Gary's brief stint as Valencia manager from 2015 to 2016, where Phil was an assistant.
"There is a special bond when you’re in the same team," Neville said. "Though Federico and Gonzalo are obviously just teammates, there’s a love, there’s a bond, there’s an understanding because I had the same feeling."
Federico Higuain spoke on the dynamic between himself and brother Gonzalo, noting that he makes a professional distinction when it comes to work time.
"On the field, on the facility, he’s not anymore my brother," he said. "He is my teammate. It’s a pleasure to play next to him, next to many, many guys. We are a team."
Individually, it was an impressive day for the lesser-recognized Higuain. He recorded a goal and an assist in a 28 minute shift, completely changing the dynamic of a match in which Miami looked unlikely to make an impact.
"I think he deserves to be talked about in his own right," Neville said. "I think the key when for Fede comes on in games — the game is more open, more stretched — to use his experience, find the right spaces. ... We’ve got someone to come on who can keep us going, keep the ball, keep possession, but more importantly have a massive impact on the game."
The end result was a game that spotlighted Federico Higuain's ability to contribute to a Miami team looking to impress in attack, livening up a team in desperate need of it. Despite the flash of scoring a game-winning goal as a substitute, though, the elder Higuain has more fondness for his earlier contribution.
"As a No. 10," Higuain said, "I always like to provide for my forwards, for my wingers."