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RECAP: Gonzalo Higuain's free-kick rocket sinks Red Bulls, 2-1

(photo by Matt Kremkau)

With some of their best players injured or away for international duty, the New York Red Bulls and Inter Miami CF clashed at Red Bull Arena for the first time on Wednesday night. The Red Bulls were missing both their midfielders, namely Kaku and Cristian Casseres, to World Cup qualifier duty with Venezuela.

Inter Miami lost their playmaker Roldofo Pizarro to Mexico, defender Leandro Gonzalez Pirez due to suspension, and goalkeeper Luis Robles due to a broken left arm suffered during a loss to NYCFC. 

Bounce-back was the theme for a New York Red Bulls team that suffered a 3-1 defeat to Orlando City FC on Saturday, and with Inter Miami traveling with just 18 players, this was an opportunity for the team to pick up valuable points. 

With the Red Bulls in control via their high press right from kickoff, it wouldn’t be long before they started creating scoring chances. Tom Barlow nearly put the Red Bulls on the scoreboard when Blaise Matudi cleared his header off the line in the 18th minute.

Just six minutes later, Barlow would have yet another chance to put the home side ahead, but his scoring chance would be denied again, this time by goalkeeper John McCarthy. Despite the Red Bulls outshooting Inter Miami 9-5, neither team after the first 45 minutes. 

Chaos would be the word in the second half, and the Red Bulls would take full advantage. The ball would bounce free in the box off a corner-kick, where Sean Nealis would keep the play alive thanks to an errant clearance by Miami defender, and Stroud’s deft pass to Omir Fernandez, the Red Bulls were on the scoreboard in the 53rd minute.

However, the celebration would not last very long. Just two minutes later, Inter Miami would answer. Lewis Morgan’s pass would bounce, then find Matias Pellegrini all alone in front of the box, and with one touch, slammed home his first of the season to even the match at one.

The Red Bulls started the match with crisp, efficient soccer, the only thing they didn't do was score in the first 30 minutes they played, but by the 70th minute on, it seems that the team regressed to sloppy play, unnecessary fouls that took them out of scoring opportunities, one that they would pay for it later.  

And it would Gonzalo Higuain would be fouled just outside the box and the high-priced Designated Player didn't disappoint. He scored a fabulous goal off the post from a free-kick in the 81st minute to put  Inter Miami ahead, 2-1. It would be his first goal of the season and the first in MLS.

Sensing some urgency in stoppage time, the Red Bulls would press on to equalize, but opportunities would go begging until the final whistle, sealing the win on the road for Inter Miami and completing the revenge they suffered back on September 23rd.


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