Alonso unsure on Higuain debut

Sports

Gonzalo Higuain is training with his Inter Miami team-mates following his move from Juventus, but Diego Alonso is unsure as to when the striker will make his MLS debut.

Former Real Madrid, Napoli and Chelsea forward Higuain left Juve on a free transfer last week, linking up with his old club-mate Blaise Matuidi at Miami.

The club confirmed on Tuesday that Higuain had been cleared for training but remained “unavailable for match selection as he awaits the receipt of his P-1 visa and International Transfer Certificate.”

Miami, who are well in the hunt for a playoff spot in their inaugural season, face New York Red Bulls on Wednesday, and head coach Alonso is not currently able to plan for Higuain’s debut.

“Yes, it’s true that Gonzalo is now training with us as you know and will have seen,” Alonso said.

“For the moment, he’s dealing with final details on the visa and he’s waiting for the ITC (International Transfer Certificate). So we still don’t have an idea on the timeline for those final details. We don’t know if it’ll be done for this week or next.”

Red Bulls boss Bradley Carnell, meanwhile, knows his side are in desperate need of a turn in fortunes after a run of just one win in six matches.

“It’s deflating,” he told a news conference. “The guys are just trying to battle through this moment, and do what it takes to get out of the rut. What it takes is sticking to who you are, being disciplined with gameplans.

“That’s how we’ll work it. We’ll work it until we can’t get it wrong. We’ll keep cranking at it.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Inter Miami – Rodolfo Pizarro

Higuain will no doubt be Miami’s star for the remainder of the campaign but, with his debut pushed back, it is Pizarro who is the expansion franchise’s key man at the moment. He scored in the all-Florida clash with Atlanta United last time out, and has three goals and four assists to his name in 2020.

New York Red Bulls – Daniel Royer

Red Bulls forward Royer managed two attempts against FC Cincinnati last time out, but did not get either of those on target. The 30-year-old is the Red Bulls’ top scorer this season, though he only has two goals to his name.

KEY OPTA FACTS

– The Red Bulls have won 12 of their last 15 matches against expansion teams dating back to September 2011 (D1 L2).

– The visitors have won their last five away matches against expansion sides going back to 2015, outscoring them 12-2 in those games.

– Miami have collected seven points in their first three home matches in MLS (W2 D1). The Timbers (W3 – 9 points) are the only expansion team that collected more points in their first three home matches in MLS.

– The Red Bulls collected seven points in their first three matches this season (W2 D1) but have managed just seven more points in the nine games since (W2 D1 L6). The Red Bulls have lost just one of their four away matches this season, however.

– New Miami signing Higuain scored 191 league goals in the 2010s in Serie A, LaLiga and the Premier League. Only six players scored more than Higuain in the five major European leagues in the last decade.

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