By Jesus Tellitud, MLSNEXTPro.com

A second-half offensive blitz from forward Emerson Rodriguez helped Inter Miami II defeat Columbus Crew 2 by a score of 2-0 at DRV PNK Stadium Saturday afternoon in the MLS NEXT Pro debuts for both teams.

Rodriguez scored Miami’s first MLS NEXT Pro goal with a side-footed shot in the 55th minute after the team hit Columbus with a quick and decisive counter attack, the first of many in the second half.

Rodriguez doubled Miami’s lead eight minutes later with a chipped shot over Columbus goalkeeper Brady Scott led to a tap-in goal to complete the brace.

The 21-year-old Rodriguez came to Inter Miami CF in a transfer from Millonarios in his native Colombia. He made his professional debut on loan to Valledupar in Colombia’s second division in 2019 before notching three goals in each of his first two seasons with Millonarios. Rodriguez made two substitute appearances for Inter Miami in MLS play before coming on loan to the MLS NEXT Pro club this week.

The two teams spent much of the first half searching for a rhythm, with Columbus dominating possession throughout the first 45 minutes. Miami increased its pressure on the ball after the break and ignited devastating counter attacks throughout the second half.

Miami’s pressure also led to a physical game as the team committed 23 fouls and two yellow cards.

Scott made three vital saves to keep Miami at bay but ultimately his defense left him exposed all game. The most impressive save would come in the first half after Miami forward Robbie Robinson nearly scored off a free kick which led to a diving save from Scott.

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