Inter Miami were forced to work hard against South Georgia Tormenta in Tuesday’s US Open Cup clash but in the end, the Herons’ MLS quality was too much for their USL opponents.
Costa Rican forward Ariel Lassiter was the architect of Miami’s success, scoring a brace either side of half-time and Robbie Robinson’s 47th-minute goal. Former Tottenham forward Kazaiah Sterling scored what was a consolation goal for Tormenta in the 88th minute.
Lassiter’s goals have been a long time coming for Inter Miami. In MLS play, the 27-year-old has attempted the third-highest number of shots (17) among Inter Miami players, with only Leonardo Campana (2.98) and Gonzalo Higuain (1.84) generating more expected goals (1.45).
A weight of frustration was lifted from Lassiter’s shoulders on Tuesday, but now the forward is just looking forward to carrying on the good feeling as Inter Miami host DC United at the weekend.
“On the individual side, happy to finally put two in the back of the net and the final third piece for me. But now, just continuing to look forward and hopefully do it on the weekend as well,” Lassiter said after the cup win.
He added: “I think the important thing is to just trust the coaching staff and to really buy into what the team and what the club is trying to do. Like Phil [Neville] said in the past, as long as we’re one unit moving in the same direction with the same goal, all the results and the things that we want to see on and off the field will follow.”
Head coach Phil Neville was equally pleased to see Lassiter finally get off the mark.
“That was a plus point. He’s been itching for those goals, so I was pleased with him,” he added.
Though he was happy to see his side progress, Neville knows they’ll have to improve if they’re to go all the way and secure the club’s first-ever piece of major silverware.
“We are in the next round, that’s all that matters. We want to be challenging for this competition. Everyone knows the levels need to be better,” he said.
Inter Miami are 13th in the East ahead of the visit of DC United, but remain just four points adrift of the MLS Cup Playoff spots with the entire Conference separated by just nine points.