Blaise Matuidi suffered an injury on Sunday that took him out of Inter Miami’s last game, but he should be available for the next one on Wednesday.
Inter Miami is set to take on CF Montreal in an Eastern Conference battle at Drv Pnk Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Matuidi is likely to start for the Herons. The French central midfielder left this past weekend’s game vs. Atlanta United in the 14th minute after an earlier collision with Santiago Sosa, but has been cleared medically and is expected to get the nod in the midweek match.
“Blaise is fine. He will play, he will start tomorrow night,” said Inter Miami head coach Phil Neville on Tuesday afternoon. “It was a nasty, nasty blow to the ribs and because (with) that area you can never be sure we obviously x-rayed him. The x-rays were all clear. He was still in a little bit of discomfort yesterday, but he managed to get through some training minutes.
“He felt a lot better today. He feels okay. Blaise if he comes 100 percent fit through the training today, he will play. I am not concerned about Blaise.”
The outlooks of Inter Miami’s other walking wounded are not as positive. Right back Kelvin Leerdam and striker Julian Carranza are question marks while left winger Robbie Robinson and versatile defender Nicolas Figal remain sidelined with hamstring injuries picked up on May 2 against Nashville SC.
“Leerdam is 50-50, Carranza is still 50-50,” said Neville. “We are taking it day by day, so Leerdam and Carranza probably have to get through training today to have any hope of being on the bench or starting tomorrow, play minutes within the game tomorrow.
“We do hope that Nico and Robbie are going to be back within the next week or so, so we are quite confident and pleased with their progress.”
federico higuain unlikely to be in lineup on wednesday
One player that has been giving Neville plenty to think about is Federico Higuain, but the Argentine playmaker is unlikely to get the nod against CF Montreal even with the short turnaround Inter Miami is facing.
Higuain has impressed as a substitute in the first four weeks of this season, including in last Sunday’s 1-1 home draw with Atlanta United, and Neville seems to want to keep using the veteran midfielder in that type of role. The English manager reiterated on Tuesday that he is weighing whether to put Higuain in the lineup, but a start will probably not come on Wednesday night.
“I am still in that point of view where his impact off the bench has been that great so why change that,” said Neville. “There is going to be times — Rodolfo (Pizarro) is going away in a month or two with his national team, hopefully, to play in the (matches) they are playing in — so there are going to be lots of games from Federico.
“I have just got to make sure that we pick the right games, we pick the right moments.”
team “excited” for stadium to reach full capacity
— Inter Miami CF (@InterMiamiCF) May 11, 2021
Inter Miami announced on Tuesday that it would open all of Drv Pnk Stadium for the first time in the May 29 game vs. D.C. United. The Herons have been unable to operate at full capacity at the South Florida venue since last year due to COVID-19 protocols and currently only allow about 8,000 supporters to enter.
That will soon change, however, and players are thrilled about it.
“Without fans the game is just boring, to be honest with you,” said central midfielder Jay Chapman. “The fact that we are going to be able to have all of La Familia (in the stadium) at the same time is going to be incredible. None of us have seen it.yet. We have seen glimpses obviously and even then I think we are right up there with the best fans in the league and that is at half capacity, if that.
“I think once we can have everybody in the stadium, it is going to be a fortress and I do not think anybody is going to like to come here and play, so I am very excited.”