Inter Miami

Phil Neville hails Aston Villa loanee Indiana Vassilev for win over Minnesota United

Lizzy Becherano
Indiana Vassilev saves the day Inter Miami CF vs. Minnesota United.
Indiana Vassilev saves the day Inter Miami CF vs. Minnesota United. / Jacob Kupferman/GettyImages

Indiana Vassilev saved the day for Inter Miami. 

The Aston Villa loanee replaced Ariel Lassister in the 83rd minute of the 2-1 triumph over Minnesota United to score the equalizer and game-winning goal and inspire his side to three much-needed points.  

Head coach Phil Neville praised the player after the game, admitting he knew Vassilev could be the defining factor. 

“I pulled him [aside] before the game and the one thing I said to him is that your goals will come. Just compose yourself a little bit more. He's had three, four, five chances in games and just snatched at it. He's getting more and more tense, the more games he doesn't score. I said, 'Look, you'll get your chance today and you've just gotta compose yourself,” Neville said. 

“I'm really, really proud of Indiana. Since he's come in, he's totally livened up the place again. He's a really good kid.”

Vassilev first joined the team in 2021 and managed three goals across 21 appearances in 2021 before returning to Aston Villa at the end of the calendar year, only to sign another loan deal with Miami earlier this summer.

He has since proven he can be a trusted substitute, slowly working himself up to become an integral part of the team. 

“​​I feel like since I've been here, I have gotten in good positions, but I haven't been able to have that finishing touch. Call it up tight if you want, but it just clicked today. The first one went in and then the second one probably wouldn't have gone in if I didn't score the first, ” Vassilev said after the match. 

The player also concurred with Neville, rebranding this year’s Inter Miami as a “new team.”

“​​This year's team has more resilience to us, meaning that if we do go a goal behind – I don't want to say last year everyone's head drops, but I feel like last year it would have been way more difficult for us to get back in the game. I can't really give you a reason for that, but this year it seems that we're a more resilient team. So when we do go a goal down, heads don't really drop.”

The South Florida side concludes Major League Soccer’s week 16 in eighth place on the Eastern Conference table with 21 points in 16 games and a record of 6W-7L-3D. They return to action on Monday when visiting FC Dallas at Toyota Stadium.