Late Edition: Inter Miami Tumbles 1-0 to NY Red Bulls In Phil Neville’s Last Dance

Inter Miami Red Bulls

DRV PNK Stadium- Inter Miami CF lost their fourth MLS match in a row Wednesday night tumbling 1-0 against NY Red Bulls, ending Phil Neville’s tenure. Tom Barlow scored the lone goal at the 52′ minute dooming both the Herons and Neville’s stint.

Kick Off

The Starting XI saw Phil Neville put all his cards on the table with a solid attacking lineup in a 4-4-2 formation versus NY Red Bulls.  David Ruiz back in with the starters and Edinson Azcona making his first appearance on the gameday roster as a substitute were noticeable moves by the coach.

Inter Miami had several opportunities early in the first half to score a goal but as usual, could not finish the play. One minute into the match Nico Stefanelli on a break-away counter off a NY corner kick was run down by a Red Bull defender and displaced cleanly off the ball. Just a few minutes later a penalty in favor of Inter Miami CF was called and Leo Campana lined up to take the kick. Campana offered a weak low kick to the goalkeeper’s left that was easily blocked.

After the initial Miami surge, NY began to create more dangerous scoring chances off counter-attacks against the soft Heron defense. Miami had possession but NY had purpose and was close to scoring several times. Neither team could consolidate any opportunities to score and they went into halftime tied 0-0.

David Ruiz lost the ball near midfield early in the second half and it led to a fortuitous NY counter.  Red Bull midfielder Luquinha received a pass and dribbled through the Miami defense like it was Swiss Cheese. He banged a shot low off the Miami goal. Tom Barlow kicked in the rebound at the 52′ minute as the Miami defenders watched without resistance. Kryvtsov was the only one who made an extra effort in preventing the goal. Terrible defending by Miami, starting with David Ruiz’s lost ball and ensuing bad positioning by Dixon Arroyo and Ruiz as the play was developing for NY.

A lone goal was once again enough for an opponent to defeat Inter Miami CF. The NY Red Bulls took home the three points with a 1-0 win.

Postgame Press Conference

Phil Neville’s final presser before the official firing the next day was somber. Everyone knew the time had come to make a change. Neville remained classy until the end taking full responsibility for the Heron’s woeful season thus far,

The responsibility starts and ends with me

Obviously, the Coach should take the burden of the blame for whatever ails his team, but Phil had some terrible misfortunes during his tenure in Miami. The fans never understood that he walked into a situation that was a ticking time bomb. No high-profile coach would have ever accepted the conditions Neville did. Sanctions, DPs not of his own choosing under long-term contracts, and having to rebuild a roster, along with a grouchy underperforming Higuain at the time.

The results have been totally unacceptable and we have to deliver in the big moments

Ultimately Phil could not deliver and it cost him his job. Clearly, his friendship with Beckham afforded him a longer leash. But, the dreadful record and last place in the standings was too much to overlook. It was time to go.

Final Thoughts

In the end, Phil the Cat lost his last life when Inter Miami lost to the NY Red Bulls at home. The press conference afterward had a dead man walking feel to it, everyone sensed the end was near. It was time for Phil to go. There was nothing left to do, no more lineup changes, no more formation changes, no more oil to burn.

Until the very end, Phil was defiant asking for the boos and the criticism to be steered in his direction and not towards his young players, in particular his son Harvey. Harvey received boos as he was substituted unto the pitch and every time he had a throw-in. I imagine the crowd did this in frustration because they felt Phil had overstayed his welcome and booing Harvey was a way to get to Phil. With Phil now gone I’m curious to see how the fans will react to Harvey moving forward.

A new broom always sweeps good, or so they say. Javier Morales is the new man in charge and he made a favorable impression in my opinion during his presentation. Time will tell rather quickly what the team has in Morales. He has an initial three-game audition period before the international break.

The crowds wanted Neville fired and they got their wish, now there’s no place to go but up.

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