Inter Miami

Phil Neville: Inter Miami have 'great hunger' to avenge US Open Cup loss

Chris Smith
Neville wants a quick response from Inter Miami after their Cup loss.
Neville wants a quick response from Inter Miami after their Cup loss. / Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Despite going all the way through extra-time and penalties before exiting the US Open Cup just days ago, Inter Miami are already desperate to get back in action and put things right.

The Herons drew 1-1 with Orlando City on Wednesday before going down 4-2 in a shootout - an outcome even harder to take given Jean Mota had given them a 1-0 lead in the 94th minute, only for the Lions to hit back right after.

But attention now returns to MLS action with Miami hosting the Portland Timbers on Saturday - their final match before breaking off for a couple of weeks over the international break. Head coach Phil Neville insists there's a 'great hunger' within the team to put things right.

“We want to go out on a high, we want to finish by playing really well, with great togetherness," he said. "Every single player has banged on my office door and said ‘I want to play' even though we just played 131 minutes.

"We’ve got great hunger. They want to fight for this football club. We’re playing against a team that has good experience, who knows how to play on the road, who got to the MLS Cup final last season, and it’ll be a really difficult game for us.”

Key to Miami's chances against Portland will be the advantage of playing at DRV PNK Stadium. The Herons have lost just two of their seven home games in MLS so far this season, with 11 of their 15 points coming on their own turf. The Timbers, meanwhile, have taken just six points on the road in 2022.

“[Portland] has a tried and true system, they play with identity. It should be a really good game," Neville said, adding: "I’m sure our fans will turn up. I’m sure we’ll get a big crowd, and we want to send them away happy. We want DRV PNK to be a fortress for us; that will be a key to our success.”

Defender Damion Lowe is equally bullish about Miami's chances at home, pointing to the Floridian weather as a potential edge over a team from the Pacific Northwest.

“I think we have [the weather] to our advantage when teams come here, so obviously I hope mother nature helps us to get these three points," said Lowe. "But the guys are buzzing; we’re in a good mood and in high spirits. We’ve just got to go out there and get the job done.”