New England Revolution beats Inter Miami 2-0 MLS game recap


Inter Miami defender Christopher McVey on 2-0 loss to New England: “We gave that first goal away way too easy.”

Inter Miami CF

Inter Miami’s good fortune ran out Saturday night. By the end of the road game at New England, Miami had lost 2-0, lost leading scorer Leo Campana and center back Aime Mabika to injuries, and lost two other center backs to red cards.

The men in pink entered the weekend riding an emotional high after four consecutive wins – three MLS, one U.S. Open Cup — and the club’s victory at City Hall on Thursday night with the approval of the Miami Freedom Park Stadium project.

But their mood changed 53 seconds into Saturday’s game at Gillette Stadium. Goalkeeper Nick Marsman tried to send a short pass to midfielder Jean Mota in the box, Mota couldn’t reach it and it rolled into the path of New England’s Matt Polster, who intercepted it, passed it to Carles Gil, who fed Damian Rivera and the 19-year-old scored the first goal of his MLS career in his first start.

Ten minutes later, red-hot forward Campana, who had scored five goals in the past four games, went down with an unspecified foot injury and left the game.

Forward Gonzalo Higuain (thigh contusion) and Robbie Robinson (foot injury) stayed home and were not available for the game, leaving Neville without a true center forward once Campana went to the bench.

“A minute on the clock, we give away a sloppy pass, and they score directly from that, which knocks the stuffing out of you,” Neville said. “Then when your center forward, who’s in great form, goes down injured and all of a sudden, you’ve got (midfielder) Robert Taylor at center forward. Leo’s been our figurehead and without him it felt like the ball was coming back at us.”

Defender Chris McVey added: “I thought the first goal we gave it away way too easy, which put us at a disadvantage right away, and after that we let it get to us. That affected us a lot in the beginning, but we tried to keep going and in the second half we started really good, and then we get two red cards, and it’s the wrong time to get red cards. We have to learn from this.”

Lowe was sent off with a second yellow in the 60th minute, leaving Miami one man down. New England capitalized four minutes later when Adam Buksa headed in a shot from the center of the box to make it 2-0.

Quinteros was ejected in the 76th minute on a questionable call, and Miami had to play the rest of the game with a two-man disadvantage. New England finished the game with 18 shots, six on frame. Miami had seven shots, three on goal. Marsman made three huge saves to keep the score respectable.

“Obviously, we’re disappointed, it’s not a feeling we’ve had for what feels like a long time, so it hurts, it hurts a lot, particularly the manner in which we lost,” Neville said. “Say whatever you want about the two players being sent off, but I thought our discipline was really poor and I told the players that. When you play in games like this and know the referee is keen to get a yellow card out, you’ve got to be careful.”

He called Lowe’s and Quintero’s second yellows “silly challenges” that could have been avoided and came at a critical time in the game.

The coach added that three games on artificial turf in the past two weeks may have contributed to the injuries.

Mabika grabbed at his hamstring, indicating a muscle injury, Neville said, which means he could be out for several weeks. Campana felt tightness in the lower leg and his status is unknown. Robinson “will be ok next week,” Neville said.

Top draft pick Ryan Sailor, who has not played yet, could be called up for Saturday’s road game at Charlotte FC to fill in on the back line with the suspensions of Lowe and Quinteros and Mabika injured. McVey can play center back and midfielder Gregore could shift back if need be.

“We’ve just got to lick our wounds and hope this is just a little bump in the road,” Neville said. “We’ve got to recover. We can’t feel sorry for ourselves because of one defeat. This league is streaky, and we’ve got to make sure we get back to winning ways as soon as possible. There’s no time to be moping around.”

Miami plays at Charlotte next Saturday, hosts a U.S. Open Cup game May 10 against Tormenta FC and then plays D.C. United the following weekend.

With Saturday’s loss, Inter Miami dropped to 12th place in the Eastern Conference with three wins, one tie and five losses. Miami is one of six teams in the East with 10 points in the standings, but four others are ahead due to better goal differential.

Note: With a goal in the first minute, Rivera became the third player in MLS history to score in the first minute of his first career start, joining FC Dallas’ Aaron Pitchkolan in 2005 and Real Salt Lake’s Matias Mantilla in 2007.

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

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