Philadelphia Union 1-2 Inter Miami: Player ratings as Leo Afonso propels nine-man Herons to late victory

  • Inter Miami picked up their 11th win of the 2024 MLS season
  • The Herons looked to have settled for a draw as they were down to nine men late on
  • Leo Afonso was substituted on and gave the Herons their first lead of the night deep in stoppage time
Leo Afonso bagged the winning goal
Leo Afonso bagged the winning goal / Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports

A stoppage-time strike from Leo Afonso propelled nine-man Inter Miami to a 2-1 comeback triumph over Philadelphia Union in Major League Soccer action.

How the game unfolded

It was a nightmare of a start for the Herons on the road as they once again conceded first after a lapse in concentration in the backline, making things even more difficult as they were already without Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Matias Rojas with the trio preparing for Copa America.

Veteran defender Jakob Glesnes picked up a loose ball in the Union's half unlocked the Miami defense with a perfect though-ball into Mikael Uhre's path. Uhre made no mistake after racing past Tomas Aviles and Serhiy Kryvtsov to put the hosts up in the third minute.

Miami would battle back as the rest of the first half unfolded but they were unable to get on level terms with just two shots in the entire first half. A crucial block from Marcelo Weigandt denied Quinn Sullivan from a sure-fire goal from just a few yards out as the Union put the pressure on throughout the first 45.

Much like the first half, the second 45 started with a goal just minutes after the restart. After some patient buildup from the Herons down the left-hand side with Jordi Alba and Leo Campana, the ball eventually found Benjamin Cremaschi who would go on to set up Julian Gressel. Gressel -- who was filling in at right-wing in the absence of Messi -- took a touch before sending a powerful volleyed strike into the top corner to even things up.

The Herons continued to mount attack after attack from that point on and came close to taking the lead on a few ocassions. However, things got a little tricky when midfielder David Ruiz was shown a second yellow card after a rash and careless challenge on Leon Flach with just over 20 minutes to play.

Things then went from bad to worse for the visitors. Tomas Aviles -- who was already sitting on a yellow card -- ushered a loose ball out of play before kicking it away from a Philadelphia player who was about to take the ensuing throw-in. Referee Ismir Pekmic didn't hesitate to show the young defender a second yellow card, and that meant Miami were to play the final five minutes plus stoppage time with nine players.

Just as all hope seemed lost for Miami, substitute Leo Afonso stepped up to score in the 94th minute to put Miami in front for the first time on the night. Afonso found himself one-on-one with Oliver Semmle after getting past Glesnes, and the young winger finished with ease to put the nine-man Herons up with just minutes remaining.

Miami would go on to hold on for all three points in the most 'smash and grab' victory you could pull off. However, three points are three points and Gerardo 'Tata' Martino's side extend their stay atop the Eastern Conference table with 38 points from 19 matches.

Inter Miami player ratings ( 4-3-3 )

Leo Campana filled in for Luis Suarez
Leo Campana filled in for Luis Suarez / Caean Couto-USA TODAY Sports

GK: Drake Callender - 6/10 - He didn't have much to do after conceding early in the match and in fairness, there wasn't much more he could've done to prevent Uhre from opening the scoring.

RB: Marcelo Weigandt - 7/10- Although he's not typically known his defensive abilities, he stepped up to make a huge block on Sullivan to prevent the Herons from falling further behind in the first half.

CB: Tomas Aviles - 4/10 - Even the quick Aviles couldn't keep up with Uhre in the opening stages. His positioning wasn't bad, but he just seemed caught off guard by Glesnes' pass. He made things worse for his side by getting himself sent off and leaving them with nine players on the pitch.

CB: Serhiy Kryvtsov - 5/10 - It wasn't the most inspiring performance at the back from the veteran figure. The Union's attackers found lots of joy in the final third as he and Aviles weren't up to par on the night.

LB: Jordi Alba - 6/10 - Nothing to write home about defensively but his delivery and combination play in the final third was solid.

CM: David Ruiz - 4/10 - An average performance from the Honduras international turned into a subpar showing after being sent off.

CM: Sergio Busquets - 7/10 - Solid overall outside of a couple of awkward moments in possession.

CM: Benjamin Cremaschi - 7/10 - Started off on the wrong foot as his touch was all over the place. However, he seemed to settle in more as the game wore on by setting up the equalizer.

RW: Julian Gressel - 8/10 - With Miami's starting front three not available through international duty, Gressel stepped up and looked much more at home on the wing when compared to his recent showings in the midfield.

ST: Leo Campana - 7/10 - Demonstrated strong hold-up play that we've seen before and played a key part in helping the Herons get back on level terms in the second half.

LW: Robert Taylor - 6/10 - Was rather ineffective in the first half but managed to turn things up a notch in the second 45.


SUBL Yannick Bright (78' for Taylor) - 7/10 - Provided the assist for Afonso's last-gasp strike with a brilliant piece of skill.

SUB: Ryan Sailor (88' for Gressel) - N/A

SUB: Noah Allen (89' for Kryvtsov) - N/A

SUB: Leo Afonso (90' for Campana) - 8/10 - What a moment for Afonso. He's come up big for Miami when his number has been called this season, but his goal against the Union could be a huge factor in Miami winning the Supporters' Shield come October.

SUB: Franco Negri (90' for Cremaschi) - N/A


Gerardo 'Tata' Martino - 6/10 - It was nowhere near a perfect performance from his team as they ended the match with nine players, but his move to bring on Afonso will now look like a masterstroke. Still, it wasn't a good performance by any means and even though Miami are missing key players, they still have enough quality to put up better showings than what they displayed vs Philadelphia.

Player of the match - Leo Afonso (Inter Miami)