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Inter Miami CF are inching closer to getting two of their designated players back onto the field, but it may not happen during their home match against in-state rival Orlando City on Friday at DRV PNK Stadium.
Gonzalo Higuaín and Rodolfo Pizarro practiced with the team on Tuesday morning, with Pizarro taking part in a portion of training for the first time in four weeks.
Pizarro has been dealing with a hip injury that’s forced him to miss Inter Miami’s last three games, with his last appearance coming in the team’s 3-2 win over FC Cincinnati on May 16.
“Rodolfo and Gonzalo — they’re just starting to slowly get integrated back into the team,” coach Phil Neville said. “There still are a lot of boxes for them to tick in terms of selection and availability for Friday. I would love to give more definitive ideas on them, but ultimately it was still Rodolfo’s first session [on Tuesday] in four weeks. He has to do a lot more work.
“Gonzalo is probably a little bit further on, but still working really hard on his fitness.”
Higuaín didn’t travel with Inter Miami for their 1-0 loss to D.C. United on Saturday and stayed back in South Florida to work on his conditioning.
Neville said the Argentine forward missed “four or five” days of practice during the international break due to injury and wanted to make sure he was at full fitness before returning to gameplay.
“Gonzalo loves to be at his absolute best,” Higuaín said. “He wants to be a success in this league and leave a legacy at this football club. He’s the driving force behind this. We wanted to make sure he was 100 percent fit and firing on all cylinders.”
Neville added that Higuaín traveling for Saturday’s match wasn’t a possibility.
“He wasn’t 100 percent fit in terms of the things you need to do in the game of football,” he said. “He’s getting closer to that. You think about sprinting, turning, acceleration, box-to-box running: these are all boxes you need to tick to be 100 percent fit and before D.C. he wasn’t that.”
Neville said Robbie Robinson and Sami Guediri, both of whom are dealing with leg injuries, likely won’t be ready to play again for a few weeks.
“Robbie has been out on the field the last couple of days,” Neville added. “He did some light jogging so he’s just starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Sami’s going to be a little bit longer.”
Neville expects for Gregore and Ryan Shawcross’ red cards from Saturday’s loss to be rescinded, which would make them available for Friday’s match versus Orlando.
As of Tuesday, both Gregore and Shawcross are suspended for Friday’s game. Inter Miami are appealing Gregore’s second yellow card from the match that ejected him from Saturday’s loss and are hopeful MLS will rescind
“The dialogue we’ve had with the league has been really positive,” Neville added. “I’m expecting a fully fit squad on Friday with hopefully Gregore and Ryan available.”
Gibbs, Marsman arrivals coming soon
Inter Miami are still awaiting the arrivals of their summer additions.
English left back Kieran Gibbs and Dutch goalkeeper Nick Marsman, both of whom signed with the club during the spring and will officially be the team’s roster in July, haven’t joined Inter Miami for training yet.
Gibbs and Marsman ended their seasons with West Bromwich Albion and Feyenoord, respectively, last month but are experiencing delays with their visas.
“Kieran, we expect him to be [here] in the first week of July, hopefully,” Neville said. “The process now for visas is really difficult because of the travel restrictions. The restrictions are pretty brutal. We’ve got players on the team whose families are still in other countries because they haven’t gotten visas for their families. It’s not just one person suffering.
“We just hope we get Kieran through the visa process, the same with Nick Marsman as well, and we can get them out here as quick as possible, hopefully for the New York Red Bulls game, maybe, on July 17, if not just after that.”
Neville expects for Gibbs and Marsman to be Inter Miami’s lone additions this summer, with the secondary transfer window opening on July 7 and closing on Aug. 5.
“We’ve got two new players who are coming into the squad in terms of Marsman and Gibbs, so that I see as the only business we’ll be making,” he said. “We’re obviously on the lookout, scouting and looking at the best players, but I think we’ve got enough quality in the squad for us to really compete this season. Our performance levels need to get better.”