What to know as Inter Miami’s playoff push intensifies with street sport at Chicago Fire



Inter Miami CF goalkeepers Nick Marsman (proven) and Drake Callender are in a battle for the beginning job heading into the street sport Sept. 10, 2022 in opposition to the Chicago Fire.

Special for the Miami Herald

It’s crunch time for Inter Miami with simply six video games remaining to climb above the playoff line.

Miami is in ninth place within the East, two spots shy of a playoff spot, heading into the street sport Saturday in opposition to the Chicago Fire (8 p.m., My33). The males in pink had reached as excessive as fifth place after a superb late summer season run however slipped with back-to-back street losses in opposition to the New York Red Bulls and the Columbus Crew.

One massive consider these losses was the absence of playmaker Alejandro Pozuelo, who was ejected with a crimson card within the 30th minute of the Red Bulls sport and served the suspension in opposition to the Crew. His return to the lineup in opposition to Chicago ought to make a distinction, as his passing and discipline imaginative and prescient are key to Miami’s assault.

Forward Gonzalo Higuain’s productiveness and temper have improved considerably because the addition of Pozuelo in July.

“Getting Pozuelo back is very important,” mentioned coach Phil Neville. “We know the quality of Pozuelo, the effect he has on other people. He makes Gonzalo better, Leo [Campana] better, Bryce Duke, Gregore. He gives the team that assurance that we missed when he wasn’t playing. It’s good to have him back.”

Although Miami dropped 4 spots within the standings throughout the previous week, Neville stays optimistic that his crew can attain the playoffs. Just 4 factors separates ninth-place Miami (36 factors) from sixth-place Columbus (40 factors), whom Miami performs at residence Tuesday.

“It feels like we are still in control a little bit,” Neville mentioned. “The chances of someone winning the last five or six games is very slim because we have not seen that all season from the teams in that middle cluster, so experience tells you teams will drop points. We have to make sure we don’t drop as many points as our opposition. We’re going to attack the next six games, look to score goals, and make sure when we get to the Montreal game at the end of the season that we gave absolutely everything.”

Miami and Chicago performed to a scoreless tie within the season opener at DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale in late February. Both groups have modified considerably since then.

“It’s going to be a tight game. We played them at the beginning of the season and now almost at the end, and I believe we’re a completely different team,” Inter Miami winger Ariel Lassiter mentioned. “I felt we should have won that first game against them. Our mentality on the road is points. Of course we always want to win, but the important thing at this point in time is not to lose and learn how to take a point away from home. Every point counts.”

Neville agreed.

“We’re well aware what’s needed,” Neville mentioned. “Chicago doesn’t get beat easily. They draw a lot of games. We drew with them earlier in the season. They’ve got talented players in the top end of the pitch.”

The Fire is in 13th place within the East with eight wins, 12 losses and eight ties. They are led by Xherdan Shaqiri, who has 4 targets and 11 assists.

One query heading into the sport is who will begin in aim for Inter Miami. Nick Marsman was the starter at first of the season, injured his again and was changed by Drake Callender, who performed so properly in Marsman’s absence that he remained the starter for just a few weeks after Marsman was cleared to play.

But Marsman was again within the beginning lineup in opposition to Columbus final week.

“I thought Nick’s performance in training and his experience were perfect for the game against Columbus,” Neville mentioned. “Over the next six games his experience will be needed, and that’s not belittling anything Drake’s done because he’s been sensational. That’s one position where it’s up for grabs. I said to them both that at all the other positions we’ve got competition, so it’s no different for goalkeepers. The best man for the job will play in the game against Chicago. We have a lot of games coming up and both will be needed.”

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Miami Herald sportswriter Michelle Kaufman has lined 14 Olympics, six World Cups, Wimbledon, U.S. Open, NCAA Basketball Tournaments, NBA Playoffs, Super Bowls and has been the soccer author and University of Miami basketball beat author for 25 years. She was born in Frederick, Md., and grew up in Miami.


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