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Scorers like Leo Afonso propel nine-man Heron to late victory

Leo Afonso’s stoppage-time strike fired nine-man Inter Miami to a 2-1 win over the Philadelphia Union in Major League Soccer.

How the game happened

It was a nightmare start for the Herons on the road as they conceded first after failing to concentrate at the back, making things even more difficult as they were already without Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Matias Rojas as they prepared for the trio. in the Copa America.

Veteran defenseman Jakob Glesnes picked up a loose ball in the Union half that opened up the Miami defense with a perfect ball into the path of Mikael Uhre. Uhre made no mistake after running past Tomas Aviles and Serhiy Kryvtsov to put the hosts ahead in the third minute.

Miami would come back as the first half went on but they couldn’t break even scoring just two goals in the first half. A key block from Marcelo Weigandt denied Quinn Sullivan a sure goal from just a few yards out as the Union piled on the pressure throughout the first 45.

Like the first half, the 45 second half started with a goal minutes after the restart. After a patient encounter from the Herons down the left flank with Jordi Alba and Leo Campana, the ball finally found Benjamin Cremaschi who would go on to set up Julian Gressel. Gressel – who had stepped in on the right wing in Messi’s absence — took a touch before sending a powerful strike into the top corner to level things up.

The Herons went on attack after attack from that point on and came close to taking the lead on several occasions. However, things took a turn for the worse when midfielder David Ruiz was shown a second yellow card after a rash and reckless challenge on Leon Flach with just over 20 minutes to play.

Things got worse for the visitors. Tomas Aviles — who was already sitting on a yellow card — scooped up a loose ball before kicking it to a Philadelphia player who was about to throw the ball. Referee Ismir Pekmic did not hesitate to show the young defender a second yellow card, and that meant Miami would play the final five minutes and stoppage time with nine men.

Just as all hope seemed lost for Miami, substitute Leo Afonso stepped up to score in the 94th minute to put Miami ahead for the first time of the night. Afonso found himself facing Oliver Semmle after Glesnes’ pass, and the youngster easily finished to level the nine-man Herons with minutes remaining.

Miami would go on to hold on for all three points in as many ‘smash and hold’ victories as they could pull off. However, three points for three points and Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino’s extended their stay at the top of the Eastern Conference with 38 points from 19 games.

Leo Campana filled in for Luis Suarez

Leo Campana fills in for Luis Suarez / Caean Couto-USA TODAY Sports

GK: Drake Callender – 6/10 – He didn’t have much to do after being fouled early in the game and honestly, there was nothing he could have done to stop Uhre from opening the scoring.

RB: Marcelo Weigandt – 7/10- Although not known for his defensive skills, he stepped up to make a big block on Sullivan to prevent the Herons from trailing in the first half.

CB: Tomas Aviles – 4/10 – Even the speedy Aviles couldn’t keep up with Uhre in the early stages. His position was not bad, but he seemed to be caught by Glesnes’ pass. He made things more difficult for his team by receiving a red card and was left with nine players on the field.

CB: Serhiy Kryvtsov – 5/10 – It wasn’t a very encouraging game for the veteran back. The Union Raiders got a lot of fun in the final third as he and Aviles were not at their best on the night.

LB: Jordi Alba – 6/10 – Nothing to write home about defensively but his delivery game and integration in the final third was solid.

CM: David Ruiz – 4/10 – The Honduras international’s average performance turned into a low performance after he was sent off.

CM: Sergio Busquets – 7/10 – Solid overall except for a few bad moments in handling.

CM: Benjamin Cremaschi – 7/10 – He started off on the wrong foot as his touch was all over the place. However, he seemed to be more stable as the game continued by scoring the equalizing goal.

RW: Julian Gressel – 8/10 – With Miami’s starting forward not available for international duty, Gressel stepped up and looked more at home on the wing compared to his recent displays in midfield.

ST: Leo Campana – 7/10 – He showed the strong performance we have seen before and played a key role in helping the Herons get back on level terms in the second half.

LW: Robert Taylor – 6/10 – It didn’t work out in the first half but managed to change things for the better in the second 45.

What you are holding

SUBL Yannick Bright (78′ for Taylor) – 7/10 – Assisted Afonso’s strike with a last-ditch break with great skill.

SUB: Ryan Sailor (88′ for Gressel) – N/A

SUB: Noah Allen (89′ for Kryvtsov) – N/A

SUB: Leo Afonso (90′ for Campana) – 8/10 – What a moment for Afonso. He has come up big against Miami when his number has been called this season, but his goal against the Union could have a huge impact on Miami winning the Supporters’ Shield in October.

SUB: Franco Negri (90′ for Cremaschi) – N/A

The manager

Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino – 6/10 – It was nowhere near his team’s best performance as they finished the game with nine men, but his move to bring on Afonso will look like a masterstroke. Still, it wasn’t a great performance by any means and even though Miami is missing key players, it still has enough quality to put up better showings than they did against Philadelphia.

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