By Official Florida FC
Robbie Robinson scored. So too did Gonzalo Higuain. In the end, it wasn’t enough for Inter Miami to win its 2021 Major League Soccer opener on Sunday.
League standard-bearers L.A. Galaxy made the 3,000-mile trek to DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale and walked out with a 3-2 win. Chicharito Hernandez scored a brace for the visitors and former U.S. men’s national team midfielder Sacha Kljestan added a composed finish in the 82nd minute to secure the win.
As for Miami, the club were in a new system under new manager Phil Neville.
The former England international, and Three Lionesses manager, lined the Herons up in a 4-2-3-1 system. All three Designated Players, Blaise Matuidi, Rodolfo Pizarro and Higuain were in the starting XI.
The only players who were in the starting XI for both the 2020 and 2021 seasons were Robinson, winger Lewis Morgan and central defender Nico Figal.
Neville, who took over for Diego Alonso in January, said he loved every part of the atmosphere and the game except for the result.e said if the club can get Higuain and Robinson operating consistently, the Herons will have a successful season.
“We’ve been working so hard with Robbie,” Neville said afterward. “The boy has got big potential. I think I said it to you guys in preseason. The boy is getting confidence. The boy has the belief of me, the trust of me. He’s got the trust and love from his teammates. That’s really important. You could see today a player that can go from strength to strength. We are really pleased with his progress.”
Neville said Inter Miami dominated the game for large periods and created better chances; but, switched off for moments in the second half. The latter is what cost them.
The manager lamented giving the ball away in the second half. His disappointment was in two of the three goals the teams conceded were from hitting aimless balls upfield.
“I definitely don’t think we deserved to lose,” Neville told reporters.
Inter Miami (0-1-0, 0 points) is staring down a pair of challenging road contests in the next two matchdays. The Herons travel to 2020 Supporters’ Shield winners Philadelphia (0-0-1, 1 point) on April 24. Inter Miami kicks off May with a trip to the Nashville SC (0-0-1, 1 point) team that eliminated the club from the 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs.