Miami coach Martino hails Suarez performance after DC win

AFP , Sunday 17 Mar 2024

Luis Suarez came off the bench and scored twice as Inter Miami, without the injured Lionel Messi, won 3-1 at D.C. United in Major League Soccer on Saturday.

Inter Miami s Uruguayan forward #09 Luis Suarez. AFP

Suarez continued his prolific start to life in MLS with his sixth goal in seven games in all competitions for the South Florida club.

Miami had failed to win their last seven games without Messi, a run dating to September, but despite that record, coach Gerardo Martino left Suarez and Jordi Alba on the bench.

Jared Stroud put for D.C. United ahead, latching onto a Mateusz Kilch pass and firing a first-time shot past Drake Callender.

The lead lasted only for 10 minutes, however, with Leonardo Campana leading the Miami attacking in place of Suarez, seeing a header saved by Alex Bono but then, after D.C. failed to clear, turning in after the ball was scooped to him by Federico Redondo.

Busquets delivered a superb cross-field pass to set Robert Taylor in down the left but his low drive clipped the outside of the post on the stroke of half-time.

Uruguayan Suarez was brought on in the 62nd minute and the 37-year-old was to settle the contest.

Just 10 minutes after coming on Suarez finished off a fine move, turning in a low cross from Campana at the back post.

Then Diego Gomez, Miami's powerful Paraguayan midfielder, won the ball in the center of the field and broke forward, finding Suarez, whose route to goal was initially blocked.

But Suarez was able to find space for a chip that Bono clawed at but was unable to stop crossing the line.

D.C United had Pedro Santos sent off after he brought down substitute Shanyder Borgelin in the final minute.

Martino said Suarez's performance had gone perfectly according to his plan.

"We had talked about him having half an hour and he defined the game," said the Argentine coach.

"One of the coach's tasks, with these players, is to convince them when to stop, when to allow themselves a break and not risk injury.

"I try to get them to make a contribution not only when they play 90 minutes but less, and boy, did he do that today."

Martino said Messi's rear-leg injury was being dealt with "week to week" and he refused to be drawn on his potential involvement in Argentina's upcoming friendlies.

"It is clear that with him there is an objective that he can play in the quarter-finals of the CONCACAF Champions Cup. We're not going to take any risks," he said.

Miami will play Mexican club Monterrey in the regional competition on April 3.

- Fire burns Montreal -

At Chicago, Kellyn Acosta scored a remarkable wind-assisted stoppage time winner from inside his own half as the home side defeated Montreal 4-3.

The Canadian side led 3-2 at the end of normal time but Belgian Hugo Cuypers poked in an equalizer for the Fire in the fifth minute of added time.

Then, in the last of nine minutes stoppage time, Acosta got possession just inside his own half and launched a long ball towards the box which caught a freakish, strong gust of wind and sailed over stranded Montreal keeper Jonathan Sirois.

Defending champions Columbus Crew continued their unbeaten start to the season with a 3-0 win over the New York Red Bulls with goals from Colombian Cucho Hernandez, Jacen Russell-Rowe and Aiden Morris.

Los Angeles FC, the 2022 MLS champions, are without a win since the opening day of the season after falling 2-0 to improving Minnesota United.

New Minnesota manager Eric Ramsay enjoyed the perfect debut after joining the club from Manchester United as goals from Robin Lod and South African Bongokuhle Hlongwane secured the win.

Minnesota are unbeaten so far this season with three wins and a draw from their opening four games.

Phil Neville's positive start to his new role as head coach of the Portland Timbers ended with a 1-0 loss at the Houston Dynamo.

After losing the first three games, New York City FC bounced back by inflicting the season's first defeat on John Herdman's Toronto FC 2-1, despite having Keaton Parks sent off in the 68th minute.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

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