Inter Miami goalkeeper Nick Marsman calls 5-0 loss to New England “a complete disaster”

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The weather was perfect, for a change.

All of Inter Miami’s marquee players were healthy and in the starting lineup. Gonzalo Higuain, Rodolfo Pizarro, Robbie Robinson, Lewis Morgan, and Blaise Matuidi started together for the first time since Week 2.

And for the first 10 minutes, Miami looked like the cohesive, attacking team it has promised to be since its inception. The 13,963 fans at DRV PNK Stadium were energized.

But then everything unraveled, Miami trailed first-place New England 4-0 by halftime, and wound up losing 5-0, its most lopsided loss in the club’s two-year history.

Loud boos rained on the Miami players as they trudged to the locker room after the game.

Miami, with the worst record and fewest goals in the league, lost its sixth game in a row under first-year coach Phil Neville. Five of those losses have been shutouts.

Miami dropped to 2-8-2. The Revolution is 9-3-3.

Goalkeeper Nick Marsman, making his debut since arriving from the Dutch league, called it “a complete disaster” and said he had not experienced a game like that his entire career. He said players were “emotional and angry” after the game, as was Neville.

“It was probably the lowest, in terms of my feelings, after a defeat since I came to this football club, and we’ve had some disappointments,” Neville said. “The manner in which we lost, it feels worse than unacceptable. I thought we started bright and we gave away two or three free kicks, we concede a goal and we lose all togetherness, concentration, spirit and our heads.

“We found ourselves with a mountain to climb down 4-nil at halftime.”

Neville said he took responsibility for the loss and urged his players to be held accountable, as well.

“It’s a case of playing for your pride, for your badge, and for the unbelievable supporters. I can only apologize to them for what they saw (Wednesday night). It’s them I feel for more than myself more than for the players. They deserve better,” Neville said. “The thing that really surprised me is that I wasn’t expecting it. From the feeling I had the last 10 days I wasn’t expecting it.

“The players need to take a long, hard look at themselves, and so do I. We win and lose together. You’ll never find me blaming. I take full responsibility for it. Ultimately, it is my job to make this team better. That’s on my shoulders.”

Before the game, Neville had said: “It’s now or never. There is no margin for error. We’ve got to put our foot on the gas.”

Instead, Inter Miami went in reverse on Wednesday night. And things do not get any easier going forward, as Miami’s next four games are against top five teams, starting with the second-place Philadelphia Union on Sunday night.

There was much optimism in the Inter Miami locker room heading into Wednesday’s game, despite the losing skid and the disappointment of having last Saturday’s road game against the New York Red bulls postponed after a long lightning delay.

Higuain was finally fit after weeks of coming off the bench. Robinson was finally ready to play after missing seven games with hamstring issues. And Pizarro was, in the eyes of Neville, in his best shape of the season, physically and mentally.

Pizarro had been slowed by a hip injury, and his confidence was rocked when he was benched by Neville and initially left off the Mexican national team for the Gold Cup. But in the past two weeks, his mood changed, he slimmed down, re-engaged with teammates, and had a smile on his face and a sparkle in his eye, Neville said.

There was some question as to whether Pizarro would be available to play Wednesday, as he was a last-minute call-up to the Mexican national team for the Gold Cup quarterfinal on Saturday. He scheduled his flight to Phoenix for Thursday morning so he could play against the Revolution.

But he was unable to find the back of the net, as were his teammates. Despite having the most expensive payroll in MLS and Higuain being the league’s third highest-paid player, Miami’s offense continues to struggle. The team was equally inept on the defensive end, not dropping back after losing the ball in midfield, and leaving Revolution players unmarked.

“Ultimately, it’s individual mistakes, and that’s desire,” Neville said. “New England was a team that wanted it, wanted to get the second ball, wanted to get to every tackle, wanted to sprint forward and sprint back. We suffered mistakes early on that killed our belief and confidence.”

He suggested Miami players need to focus less on flash and more on hard work.

“Football is about not letting your teammates down on the field and that is about doing the jobs that are most important, not sticking the ball in the back of the net, not having fancy flicks,” the coach said. “It’s about tackling, heading, shielding, protecting the ball and we’re not doing that and have not done it the last six games and we have to rectify that asap.”

Asked what went wrong, Marsman said: “We’re a bit excited always to press forward and to keep going and when we lose the ball the opposing team can cross over all the pitch. We’re not coming back to shape and defending as a team...It was a wakeup call. From now on we have nothing to lose, so we have to go for it. I hope the fans will keep supporting us because we need their energy.”

New England showed why it sits atop the Eastern Conference. Revolution players took advantage of Miami’s miscues. Their first goal came in the 15th minute by Arnor Traustason, who headed it from the center of the box past Marsman.

The goal came off a free kick after Nico Figal was called for a foul outside the left corner of the box. Carles Gil whipped in the kick, and Traustason pounced on it.

Twelve minutes later, New England’s Teal Bunbury made 2-0 with a right-footed shot to the top right corner on a rebound after a Marsman save. Traustason scored his second goal of the night in the 36th minute following a corner kick. And Adam Buksa scored in first-half added time to make it 4-0 on a rebound after Marsman saved a Bunbury shot.

A chorus of boos could be heard as the teams headed the locker rooms.

Neville made two substitutions to start the second half – newly-signed Kieran Gibbs for Christian Makoun and Jay Chapman for Matuidi. Miami managed to keep the Revolution at bay until Buksa’s 83rd minute goal, but remained scoreless on the other end.

Higuian went down in the 78th minute, and walked gingerly toward the sideline as his replacement, his older brother Federico, went in to take his place. Fans booed the Argentine star as he made his exit, a sad picture that personified the night and state of the team.

“Does New England have better players than us? On paper, no, but they’re a team and that’s what we must become,” Neville said. “A team that represents the badge, (owners) David (Beckham), Jorge (Mas) and Jose (Mas). All I’m asking for is a team that will fight for each other and trust each other, like a brotherhood.”

Asked if he felt he has the full support of team ownership and management, Neville said: “I feel that full support. The concern is me. They don’t need to tell me because I have the same concerns. I’ve been in football long enough, so I know the consequences. All I want is for this football club to succeed. We’re doing everything in our power to do that. With that comes great accountability and responsibility and we’re on a run now that puts me under pressure. That’s what football management is all about.”