Neville, Vassilev praises the resilience of the team

Late goals in the 87th and 90th minutes from substitute forward Indiana Vassilev erased a one-goal deficit and secured a 2-1 victory for Inter Miami CF against Minnesota United FC at DRV PNK Stadium on Saturday 25 June. With the win, the team pushed their MLS home unbeaten run to six and have not suffered a home defeat since April 4.

Head coach Phil Neville spoke of the team’s improved spirit and willingness to go for goals late in the game.

“I told the players at the end that I felt Inter Miami from last year and the year before wouldn’t have won this game. I told them that the feeling I have this year is that it is another Inter Miami team that continues until the end.

A historic brace from Indiana winger Vassilev was the result of that improved mindset and key to the team’s victory. Neville spoke about the team’s late push and Vassilev’s performance off the bench as he became the first player in MLS history to score both an equalizing and game-winning goal after being entered the game in the 80th minute or later.

“It’s the new Inter Miami. We have substitutes who want to play for their team. We talked before the game about the sacrifices needed to win and be successful, and the sacrifice is that you put your ego aside and go on the pitch or you’re on the bench supporting each other I think I’m a lucky manager to have a team at the moment that we’ve signed that has all the qualities needed for a team to be successful or at least be competitive. I’m super proud of how they scored late, it shows the fighting qualities. And I’m really, really proud of Indiana. I think since he came in, he’s got some totally new, totally bustling place, and he’s a really good boy.

A delighted Vassilev also spoke to the media about the importance of this victory for him personally and for the team as a collective unit.

“Very happy on a personal note but most importantly I got three points on the board and now we move on to next week… Everyone is delighted. Three points at home and that kind of sets the tone for the next two games It’s just good to get a win and try to get a few games, a streak where we can win games, and that’s what we need to stay in that playoff image.

Neville echoed Vassilev’s sentiments after the game about the importance of the win as the team looks to make a playoff push.

“It was vital that we got the three points because on the road it’s really tough and we want to make it a fortress and I think we’re making a fortress… With all the other results with a really tight group of teams , I feel every three points will earn you four or five places.

Like Neville, Vassilev has also noticed a difference in how this year’s squad not only competes when leading, but also when facing deficits.

“This year we seem to be a more resilient team so when we lose a goal the heads don’t really fall and I think today we felt we should have taken something from the game and we did that. Coming today and watching the game, I really felt like we were going to get something out of the game, whether it was a draw or a win.

The team will have a full week of training before heading to face FC Dallas on Monday, July 4 at Toyota Stadium. The game is scheduled to start at 9 p.m. ET and will be streamed live on My33, UniMás and the Inter Miami app.

Lance B. Holton