It could aptly be described as a strange afternoon in The District. Strange twists and turns were found throughout the match, and in the end, what could very well have been an Inter Miami victory turned out to be a win for home side D.C. United.
Frédéric Brillant scored on a rebound to complete a stunning sequence of events early in the second half and D.C. United rallied from a goal down to defeat 10-man Inter Miami 2-1 on Saturday afternoon at Audi Field.
Yamil Asad also scored from the penalty spot as D.C. United (1-1-0, 3 points) picked up their first win of the season at the expense of expansion opponents who have begun with a pair of one-goal defeats on the road.
It started off very well for Miami. Rodolfo Pizarro had already missed a previous chance before scoring the first goal in the history of Inter Miami (0-2-0, 0 points) in the second minute. Rookie Robinson started the attack after a D.C. turnover, driving inside the penalty area and finding Scottish midfielder Lewis Morgan on the right. Morgan tucked a low pass to the back post, where Pizarro easily finished past a stranded Hamid. In addition to making history with Miami, Pizarro became the 50th Mexican player to score a goal in MLS.
The game changed drastically shortly after the restart on a sequence in which Lewis Morgan appeared to have doubled Miami’s lead on a shot that deflected off a United defender and past goalkeeper Bill Hamid.
However, the goal was disallowed and to make matters worse Román Torres was sent off following video assisted review showed he clearly touched the ball with his arm. In referee Rubiel Vazquez’s judgment, it denied an obvious goal-scoring opportunity (in this instance one for his own team). Torres thus has the dubious distinction of being the first Inter Miami player to be shown red.
Watch: Román Torres sent off for handball
The sending off gave new life to D.C. Minutes later, Inter midfielder Victor Ulloa took down Edison Flores in the penalty area, and the referee pointed to the spot. Asad stepped to up convert the penalty kick to level the game in the 59th minute. It was Asad’s first goal in any competition since he previously played with D.C. in 2018 and after a largely inactive 2019 spent in Argentina.
Two minutes after that, in the 61st, Flores was in the middle again, striking the right post with a free kick earned by Felipe. Frédéric Brillant reached the rebound and hammered the half volley into the net from the edge of the six-yard box.
Three players all left the game due to injuries, all in the first half. D.C. United’s Ola Kamara and Joseph Mora, and Inter Miami’s Robbie Robinson all had to be substituted off. Robinson had to exit the contest just before the halftime whistle after D.C. defender Steven Birnbaum fell on the back of his leg. The rookie forward got up under his own power and briefly tried to re-enter the contest, but was subbed off for Juan Agudelo.
The Manager’s thoughts
“We deserve more than what the record of these two games may reflect,” Inter Miami CF manager Diego Alonso said after the game. “We played better than last week; our first half was great. Those few minutes changed the game but even with 10 guys, we kept pushing until the end.”
Miami will play its first home game next Saturday in Fort Lauderdale against the team co-owner David Beckham played for in MLS — the Los Angeles Galaxy. The game has been announced as a sell out. It will mark the first MLS game in Fort Lauderdale since the Fusion’s last home game on October 16, 2001, a playoff match versus the San Jose Earthquakes that Miami lost after extra time 0-1. With a new team, a new brand, new stadium and much more, Inter will be looking to get its first win for South Florida fans.
Inter Miami Hoy Man of The Match:
We’d love to pick Rodolfo Pizarro for scoring the first goal in Rosanegro history, but in a close contest, he’ll have to wait for another week. This week’s MOTM is Frédéric Brillant of D.C. United, whose second half goal turned out to be the game winner.