Leandro Gonzalez-Pirez was pulled down by a Dynamo defender to win the spot-kick just before the hour mark. Inter’s captain and star man Gonzalo Higuain was taken off penalty duties following his miss against the Philadelphia Union, leaving it for Scotsman Morgan. The attacking midfielder sent Marko Maric the wrong way to confirm the win.
It was a contest that was delayed by an electrical storm halfway through the first half and was largely lacking in quality, with both sides putting in strong defensive displays.
Despite failing to save the penalty, Dynamo ‘keeper Marko Maric had a wonderful match.
The Croatian stopper made a string of smart saves to keep Inter’s attacking talent at bay, with most eye-catching coming just before the penalty. A Blaise Matuidi cross came in from the left wing and was met with a powerful volley from Higuain. It looked like a certain goal, but Maric pulled out a fabulous fingertip save to deny the Argentine.
He made a similarly impressive stop from Lewis Morgan in the first half. After a sharp link-up with Higuain, Morgan had a snapshot saved by Maric who was quick off his line to deny the Scotsman. John McCarthy for Inter made an impressive save from Ariel Lassiter from close range on 70 minutes, coming off his line to close the angle for the Costa Rican, but the plaudits go to Maric.
Strong from Leandro
In terms of highlights for Miami, it was a fairly flat performance but Gonzalez-Perez was arguably their best player.
On top of winning the penalty, he put in a typically tough defensive display to keep Houston out. In his usual fashion, he wasn’t afraid of committing tactical fouls or crowding the referee if he took issue with a decision. He took the weather delay as an opportunity to protest a handball decision that had gone against him instead of getting off the pitch as intended.
Higuain and Matuidi both put in serviceable performances, but in truth, this match was all about the backlines of both teams.
Inter Miami (3-4-2-1): McCarthy, DeLaGarza, Figal, Gonzalez-Pirez, Nealis, Trapp, Matuidi, Shea, Morgan, Pellegrini, Higuain
Subs on: Ulloa, Chapman, Robinson, Carranza, Sweat
Unused subs: Powell, Makoun, Callender, Ambrose
Houston Dynamo (4-4-2): Maric, Valentin, Struna, Figueroa, Lundqvist, Lassiter, Vera, Ceren, Rodriguez, Quintero, Ramirez
Subs on: Hansen, Junqua
Unused subs: Fuenmayor, Zahibo, Palomino, Lemoine, Bizama, Garcia, Cropper