Gonzalo Higuain made the move the MLS for the 2020 campaign joining David Beckham’s franchise Inter Miami. His first campaign in the league went far from as planned as he missed a penalty on his debut for the franchise in a 3-0 defeat to the Philadelphia Union. He also only notched one goal in nine appearances over the course of the season. It’s fair to say the Argentine did not light up the MLS, although he was not the only player to struggle in Miami. The club finished in 10th place in the Eastern Conference and were dispatched with ease by Nashville SC in the Play-In Round of the playoffs.
However, Higuain has fared better at the start of his second campaign. The 33-year-old scored four goals in his first seven games of the 2021 season, including a match-winning brace to overcome Cincinnati on the road. Miami have been decent under new manager Phil Neville, but the franchise are still getting to grips with life in the league. Neville’s men are backed at +2800 in the football betting odds to win the MLS Cup for the first time, and although it would be a challenge, there is quality alongside Higuain to achieve the feat.
A lot will rest on his shoulders and he will have to be flawless throughout the campaign to usher his side towards the playoffs. Higuain can take heed from the example of another former star in Europe to fire in front of goal in the MLS. David Villa moved to the States at the age of 33 after a distinguished career in LaLiga, winning the title three times, along with international crowns for Spain, winning the 2010 World Cup and the European Championship in 2008.
Villa was on the downside of his career after his move to New York City FC. However, he still had gas left in the tank to enjoy an outstanding four-year stretch with the club. He notched 18 goals in his first season following his move, which was an excellent haul. Villa took his game to the next level in the 2016 season, notching 23 strikes in only 33 games. His form fired City into the MLS Playoffs, although even he was powerless to stop his side from slipping to a seven-goal aggregate defeat to Toronto FC. Despite the disappointment, Villa ended the season with the MLS MVP Award.
Villa was excellent once more in the 2017 campaign, finding the net another 22 times. He raised the standard of his performances in the post-season, but his side failed to overcome Columbus Crew. In his final campaign with City, the club progressed beyond the first round of the playoffs courtesy of a stellar performance from the Spaniard. His tenure would end in a familiar playoff defeat, crashing out in the semi-finals against Atlanta United. Villa was a monumental success for City during his four years, setting down a marker as the franchise’s leading scorer with 80 goals, which will not be easily surpassed.
Higuain can take note from the performances of Villa, and realise that he could create a legacy in Miami. It may not result in the ultimate goal of the MLS Cup, but the Argentine can certainly etch his place in the history of the club should he rediscover his peak form in the final third.