Inter Miami 3-2 Chicago Fire: Miami wins an Eastern Conference thriller

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Inter Miami picked up a potentially massive win on Wednesday night as they defeated the Chicago Fire 3-2 at DRV PNK Stadium.

Miami opened the scoring through Indiana Vassilev in the 34th minute, but Chicago equalized soon after thanks to a header from Francisco Calvo. The away side then went ahead following the break when Luka Stojanović scored for a third consecutive contest, but a goal from Robbie Robinson tied things up with plenty of time to go. After chances for both, Inter eventually grabbed the winner, as substitute Rodolfo Pizarro curled a shot past the goalkeeper in stoppage time to secure the win for his team.

All in all, the match was a fun one to watch for the neutrals.

Story of the match

After a relatively uneventful opening half hour, the hosts would go in front. An incredibly quick counter attack set up Robbie Robinson for a shot on the edge of the area, and even though his effort was saved, Indiana Vassilev was able to slot home the rebound.

Their lead didn’t last long, though, as Chicago equalized about six minutes later. Luka Stojanović picked out Francisco Calvo with a superb corner, and the defender then did the rest, heading the ball past the goalkeeper from close range.

The Fire carried that momentum into the break, and they took the lead themselves just minutes into the start of the second half. Winning the ball high up the pitch, Stanislav Ivanov was eventually able to get wide before hitting a low cross right to Stojanović. The midfielder made no mistake with the finish, slamming a shot into the back of the net to grab a goal for the third game in a row.

Inter nearly tied things up thanks to a set-piece routine from the training ground. A free-kick was laid off towards the center of the box to Gonzalo Higuaín, who had broken free of his marker. It was all for naught, though, as his first-time strike rolled wide of the target.

However, it wouldn’t be long until the scores were level once again. A wonderful pass from Higuaín played Robinson through on goal, and he managed to convert from close range, rifling the ball into the roof of the net from a few yards out.

Some more classy play from Higuaín almost led to Miami restoring their advantage in style, as he brought down a looping pass with an exquisite touch. His turn in the area was also nice, but the finish left a lot to be desired as the ball flew well over the crossbar.

Just as it seemed like the two sides were set to share the points, the hosts managed to grab a late winner. Coming courtesy of two substitutes, Víctor Ulloa laid the ball off to Rodolfo Pizarro near the edge of the area, and his shot went through the legs of a defender before nestling into the back of the net to steal all three points for his team. 

Takeaways

Could this be the result that finally kicks Miami into gear? They’ve been beyond poor this season, but this win has moved them within eight points of a playoff spot with two games in hand. They have time to turn things around, and considering the amount of talent they have on the roster, it wouldn’t be too surprising to see them do just that.

This loss will certainly sting for Chicago. Having gone in front following the break, they just couldn’t get the job done when it mattered most, and they even bottled the chance to at least secure a point from proceedings. Their same old road woes continue to haunt them, and games like this might end up costing them a place in the playoffs.

It’s unknown what factors went into the decision, but Miami wearing their black kit instead of their white one seems especially strange considering just how hot it was there on the night.

Man of the match – Rodolfo Pizarro

The matchwinner on the night, Rodolfo Pizarro didn’t do much, but he did enough to secure the three points for Miami.

Coming on just past the hour mark, the Designated Player failed to have much of an impact. He was practically invisible for most of his cameo off of the bench, and he seemed set for yet another disappointing performance.

However, that all changed in stoppage time. The ball fell to his feet on the edge of the area, and Pizarro was finally able to showcase his class and ability as he curled a shot into the back of the net. Just like that, all of his previous poor play had been forgiven.

He’s had a rough year, but that winning strike could give him the confidence boost he’s been needing in order to return to top form once again. Whether or not that’s what happens remains to be seen, but for now, he can celebrate his crucial contribution.