The Union beat the brakes off Inter Miami CF Sunday night, winning 3-0 at a rainy Subaru Park to maintain their hold on second place in Major League Soccer’s Eastern Conference.
On the field for the visitors was recently signed superstar Gonzalo Higuain, who joined from powerhouse Juventus in Italy’s Serie A. He’s a 32-year-old Argentina international who previously played for clubs Real Madrid, Napoli, Chelsea, and AC Milan.
A trustworthy league source from my Union beat writer days resurfaced Sunday night, saying that Higuain probably shouldn’t have been cleared to play in this game, because he left the country to get his P1 Visa a few days prior and was not required to do the mandatory quarantine upon re-entry.
That quarantine is supposed to be 10 days, and the process involves going to a consulate in another country, and then you re-enter with the visa. In Higuain’s case, he didn’t have that completed paperwork as of last Tuesday, September 22nd:
According to a post at the Miami website, he was in possession of the P1 and ITC by Saturday, 9/26, which was 24 hours before his debut.
The source says Miami put Higuain on a charter flight in and out of the United States, to expedite the travel and avoid crowds and COVID-19, which apparently was good enough for MLS to allow him to play in Philly. The source says Higuain obtained his P1 in Mexico and claims that MLS was “tweaking things on the fly to accommodate Miami and a star player.”
MLS leadership is well-known for rule-bending to accommodate stars, and/or making fluid decisions beneficial to big-name players and big-market clubs.
A perfect example of that dates back to 2014, when the Union were famously screwed into giving up assets for returning United States international Maurice Edu. Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley, however, went to Seattle and Toronto essentially as free agents, with no explanation given. Those teams were not subject to the same rules as the Union, because they were fancy, big-spending clubs and the Union were the Union.
Higuain missed a penalty and got into a shouting match with Philly players Sunday night, so it was not a great debut:
Higuain skies the penalty kick 😳 pic.twitter.com/M5yZMMzpgI
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) September 28, 2020