Indiana Vassilev, 21 years old, had quite the showing over the weekend as he picked up a brace in just seven minutes played to give Inter Miami a 2-1 win over Minnesota. He was subbed on in the 83rd minute with Miami trailing Minnesota United 1-0, and snagged an equalizer in the 87th minute off an assist from Bryce Duke. Vassilev split two defenders on a run to get on the end of a through ball from Duke before expertly fired the ball into the very top of the net to even things up.
He then scored the 90th minute game-winner as he slotted home a shot from about 12 yards out. The ball had been being knocked back and forth in the box, Minnesota failed to clear it and Vassilev made them pay with a nice strike.
The win over Minnesota was an important one for Miami. The Herons are now closing in on the playoff line in the East, now just two points back of New England for seventh. Miami has also picked up 11 points in their last six matches in their climb up the table.
Indy Vassilev has been playing well recently, not just this past weekend. The last three matches have all been solid performances from the loanee.
In Miami's first game back from the international break, Vassilev got the start and played 65 minutes in a losing effort to Atlanta – completing 88.9% of his passes, with one key pass. It wasn't the greatest performance for Vassilev, but Miami as a whole really struggled in this match.
The Herons also lost Jean Mota to a 1st half red card, which really impacted the way they were able to play the rest of the match. Vassilev didn't propel Miami to victory, but he also wasn't the reason they lost. He might not have been Miami's best player in the match, but he overall performed adequately against an Atlanta team that played well.
Before that, on May 28th in a 2-1 win over Portland, Vassilev played 46 minutes as a sub. He completed 90.5% of his passes and drew a foul. He picked up a key pass in the match, and also didn't lose a duel, playing a role in Miami getting the win.
21 of his 35 completed passes in the two matches (against Atlanta and Portland) were forward passes. This wasn't a case of his numbers being boosted by passes to his backline.
Overall on the season, Vassilev has played in seven matches, starting four of them to rack up 340 minutes on the season, completing 84% of his passes. He also played for Inter Miami on loan last season, appearing in 21 matches with seven starts – getting three goals in 793 minutes.
Vassilev is currently on loan with Miami from Premier League side Aston Villa, joining the Midlands side in 2019 after playing his youth soccer in Georgia and Florida. At first, Vassilev played with the Aston Villa Under-23 team, but did play in four Premier League matches for Villa in 2020.
Vassilev is no stranger to being loaned out. He spent late 2020 and early 2021 at lower division English sides Burton Albion and Cheltenham Town, before being loaned out to Miami at the end of the 2021 season in England.
Vassilev is currently valued at 550K on Transfermarkt. It will be interesting to see, if he plays well the rest of this season, whether that number increases, and if so then by what. It will also be interesting to see what the long-term club future holds. Whether Villa will want to keep him, whether he'll be moved to Inter Miami full-time, or what other potential moves could happen.
There has been on and off hype for Vassilev throughout his career due to his age, playing for Aston Villa, playing for the United States Youth system, etc. Even though he only played seven minutes, performances like he had over the weekend might kick-start the hype back up for the youngster.
While he hasn't been able to establish himself yet as a consistent starter in South Beach, I believe that if Vassilev keeps playing like he has in the last couple of matches that it will be difficult for Phil Neville to keep him off the pitch.