Gonzalo Higuain is getting closer and closer to his Inter Miami debut.
Higuain received clearance for and took part in full training with Inter Miami on Tuesday for the first time since signing with the expansion side late last week. The Argentine striker had been subject to a mandatory quarantine period that began upon his arrival to South Florida a-week-and-a-half ago and was training individually, but has now had his first session with the group.
“It was really nice to be able to train with him because up until now it was almost like he was a zoo animal,” said captain and goalkeeper Luis Robles on Tuesday afternoon. “Because we would be inside and we would watch him train by himself and we’d just get to see just how special of a player he is, but he is even more special when you train with him.”
🚨 Gonzalo Higuaín has been cleared for training and has joined his teammates and coaching staff. 🚨
— Inter Miami CF (@InterMiamiCF) September 22, 2020
With the Designated Player now practicing, the natural next question is just when will he play. The answer to that remains unclear, however.
Higuain is still going through the final bits of red tape in order to be able to play, and as a result will not be in uniform for Wednesday night’s home game against the New York Red Bulls. There is a chance he could play in Sunday’s road game vs. the Philadelphia Union, though.
“He is currently working on acquiring his visa and waiting for receipt of the International Transfer Certificate,” said head coach Diego Alonso in Spanish on Tuesday. “We don’t have an idea yet how long that process will take. We are doing all we can to make it as soon as possible, but we don’t know if it will be this weekend or next.”
Robinson cleared, Carranza remains out
Inter Miami had no forward depth in this past weekend’s 2-1 victory over Atlanta United due the absences of Robbie Robinson and Julian Carranza.
Well, Robinson is back in the fray after recovering from his ailment and will be available for selection vs. the Red Bulls while Carranza remains on the mend.
“Robbie is recovered and able to play and the majority of the players are, too,” said Alonso.” Julian Carranza is the exception as he is still carrying the ankle injury and that will likely take another couple of weeks, but everyone else is available to play.”
Figal could return to centerback vs. Red Bulls
While almost everyone is healthy, there will be one another notable absence in the midweek match in addition to Carranza. Starting centerback Andres Reyes is set to miss the Eastern Conference bout due to yellow card accumulation.
Alonso is assessing how to fill the void as a result, and one possibility is sliding Nicolas Figal over from the right back spot he has been occupying as of late. Figal began the season as a starter in the heart of the defense and is a natural centerback, but he got looks out wide due to the emergence of Reyes and previous issues at that fullback position.
“We have the option to keep him there or to use him as a centerback,” said Alonso. “We have that possibility and he gives us that option because of his characteristics. We will see what we decide for tomorrow, but we want to try and have the team be comfortable, be aggressive, and that can keep the defensive solidity that we have had recently.”
Players’ families to attend home game for first time
Inter Miami fans have yet to see their team play a home game, but they are one step closer to doing so.
The expansion side is welcoming players’ families to Inter Miami CF Stadium for the first time on Wednesday night, a sign of progress as both the club and South Florida as a whole continue to assess how and when to reopen the venue in the midst of the ongoing pandemic.
“My family is really excited about being able to go to the game because it’s the first time they can go to the stadium and watch,” said Robles. “I know it’s not totally open yet, but when you consider that we haven’t been able to play in front of our family, it is exciting that that is going to happen tomorrow.”