Inter Miami

Phil Neville has 'proudest moment' as Inter Miami head coach after US Open Cup win

Chris Smith
Neville is starting to turn things around for Inter Miami.
Neville is starting to turn things around for Inter Miami. / Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

A third win in a row, success in the club's first-ever US Open Cup match, and beating another Miami team; Phil Neville has plenty of reasons to smile as Inter Miami head coach.

Just a couple of weeks ago, things looked bleak. A 3-1 defeat at home to the Houston Dynamo left them bottom of the Eastern Conference with just one point and one non-penalty goal from five games.

Fast forward to Tuesday night and Neville was left celebrating as a Leonardo Campana goal sealed a 1-0 win over Miami FC in the Herons' first-ever US Open Cup tie, following on from successive MLS victories over the New England Revolution (3-2) and Seattle Sounders (1-0).

"I’m super proud. Probably the proudest I’ve felt as an Inter Miami manager," Neville said.

"We speak a lot of identity, seeing all the identity in the last three games, that's the start of the foundation we want to build. We can play better 'fútbol' and build a better rhythm, but today was all about winning and getting to the next round. We have a sense going forward, this is the real deal."

Wolves loanee Campana has been the catalyst to Inter Miami's revival so far, scoring a hat-trick in the 3-2 victory over the Revs before pre-assisting the winner against Seattle, and netting the only goal of the game on Tuesday night in the Cup.

After Tuesday's match, Neville confirmed Campana will continue to lead the line in the absence of the injured Gonzalo Higuain, adding: “We have a center forward now who wants to play every minute of every game, that wants to score, who looks the real deal."

Though Neville is celebrating another win, it certainly wasn't easy. Miami FC put serious pressure on their MLS opponents and it took until the 83rd minute for Campana to deliver the winner. The hosts also attempted nine shots and controlled 53% possession on the night.

“We had a lot of tired bodies, but we have a lot of players who want to play and impact, and we saw that,” Neville observed. “The first half we were still on the plane from Seattle. We were slow, a yard off everything, but that was to be expected. Our new guys who came in were phenomenal. We brought the big guns on in the second half, and we controlled the play, but they kept going and going.”

Inter Miami host Eastern Conference rivals Atlanta United on Sunday as they look to win four games in a row for the first time in club history.