HIGHLIGHTS: Inter Miami CF vs. Chicago Fire FC | August 18, 2021
In a match between two Eastern Conference teams looking to overcome slow starts to the season to mount a playoff push, Miami struck first through on-loan Indiana Vassilev before Luka Stojanovic provided an assist – for Francisco Calvo – and a goal of his own on either side of halftime to put the Fire in the ascendency. Miami, though, would not be denied. After Robbie Robinson put them back on level terms, Pizarro struck for his first goal of 2021 as Miami got a stoppage-time winner at home for the second match running.
Miami took the initiative from kickoff while looking to continue their recent upturn in form. The best early opportunities fell Gonzalo Higuain's way when he made his way into the box but hit a left-footed shot wide across the face of goal, much to the frustration of onlooking Inter Miami owner David Beckham.
It was Higuain's linkup play that caught the eye, though, and in the 34th minute it helped produce the game's opening goal. From a quick break, the former Argentine international dropped off the front and played a perfect through ball for Robinson. While the initial effort was parried by Bobby Shuttleworth, Vassilev was on hand and adjusted his body well mid-stride to finish into the empty net and mark his first MLS start with his second goal.
The hosts held a thoroughly deserved lead, yet it was also painfully short-lived. Just six minutes later, Chicago were level when Calvo's near-post header from Stojanovic's corner kick couldn't be kept out by Nick Marsman despite the Miami 'keeper getting a solid hand to the ball.
Things then got worse for Miami just three minutes after the halftime interval. This time Stojanovic supplied the emphatic finish after being left unmarked on the penalty spot to dispatch Stanislav Ivanov's low cross from the right for the midfielder's fourth goal in three games.
Miami produced a fightback of their own, though. Just past the hour mark, Higuain's class was again on display when he delivered a delightful cutback into the center of the box where Robinson took it in stride and finished with the outside of his right foot from close range.
A point apiece looked to be the outcome but Miami kept fighting. In the third minute of added time, Higuain produced some magic outside the box to create space before finding Victor Ulloa, who laid it into the path of Pizarro to send the DRV PNK crowd into jubilation.
- THE BIG PICTURE: Things continue to look up for Miami, who have now lost just once in their last six games. The manner of this win will bring particular joy and it'd be hard to argue it wasn't deserved. On the other side, Chicago's mini-revival has hit a speed bump with their first defeat in five outings.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: What else but Pizarro's dramatic late winner that gave Miami all three points.
GOAL: Rodolfo Pizarro, Inter Miami CF - 93rd minute
- MAN OF THE MATCH: With apologies to Luka Stojanovic, who continued his red-hot form with a goal and an assist, the top plaudits go to Gonzalo Higuain for showcasing his quality throughout. The 33-year-old DP played a key role in all three Miami goals.