Inter Miami will play its third game in eight days on Sunday, and you can expect some changes to the lineup as a result.
Not many, though.
Inter Miami will travel to take on struggling FC Cincinnati on Sunday afternoon, and the team is likely to rotate some new players into the lineup for the game. Not necessarily because of the “unacceptable” performance that was put forth in Wednesday’s 2-0 home loss vs. CF Montreal, but rather due to the accumulated fatigue that has been picked up after playing twice in the past five days.
“There is going to be no knee-jerk reaction,” said Inter Miami head coach Phil Neville on Friday about making lineup changes. “I have been really pleased with every single player in the team. There is going to be freshness in and around the team on Sunday, but that is the third game in a week, (so) no different than what you would do normally.”
“There is going to be no mass changes because we have not got the players to mass change and there is no need to,” added Neville.
One player that will not be with the Herons is right back Kelvin Leerdam, who came off the bench in the midweek match. Leerdam has been dealing with a hamstring strain in recent weeks, and Inter Miami thinks it is best to rest him even with the lack of natural options it has right now for that side of the defense.
“Leerdam is going to be out of the game on Sunday. Still a bit concerned about his hamstring strain. Not 100 percent fit,” said Neville. “I think after the (CF Montreal) game what we decided with a lot of the players that have come in later into preseason, not had preseason, not had the foundations, that we are going to take responsibility and maybe take them out of the action for a little bit and give them probably 2-3 weeks hard work.
“Ultimately, we are asking players to play 90 minutes at an intense level when we have not given them the proper foundations because we probably rushed them into games through a necessity.”
Two other players who will not feature this weekend are Robbie Robinson and Nicolas Figal, both of whom are also dealing with hamstring issues.
carranza available for selection
It is not all bad news on the player availability front. Neville stated on Friday that striker Julian Carranza is healthy and fit enough to play after dealing with a case of vertigo during the past few weeks.
Carranza has not yet made his season debut, but could earn a start against FC Cincinnati if Gonzalo Higuain is rested after starting and going the distance in the last two games vs. CF Montreal and Atlanta United.
“Julian Carranza is back now,” said Neville. “He trained fantastic this morning and I expect him to have a real influence over the next few weeks in terms of action on the field. I know he has been frustrated, but it is through no fault of anyone’s that he suffered vertigo.”
TEAM NOT UNDERESTIMATING fc cincinnati
Inter Miami could use a win, but so too could FC Cincinnati. The hosts of Sunday’s encounter in the opening of TQL Stadium are winless this season through three matches, and were recently on the receiving end of a pair of ugly losses that had a combined score of 8-0.
Even so, Inter Miami is not underestimating its upcoming foe.
“I do not care if the team is in first place, last place, middle of the table, you have to go there and you have to compete,” said Inter Miami goalkeeper John McCarthy. “They have had a week, a week-and-a-half off. We have had three games this week. It does not matter. You can say a couple different things, ‘If this. If that.’
“No, you go and you perform and you have to get the job done.”
In order to do that Inter Miami has to make sure it moves on from the bitter and frustrating loss to CF Montreal, a game that included a two-hour weather delay in which the Herons were “emotional” in the locker room.
“A lot of guys are pissed,” said McCarthy. “You never want to lose and you never want to lose at home especially (since) you try to make this place into a fortress and you want to dominate games at home and you want to win. We obviously did not get the job done on Wednesday.
“You have to look forward, you have to look passed, we watched some film today, and it is over with. Now we have to go to Cincinnati and get three points.”