Match previews

Match Preview: Philadelphia Union vs Inter Miami CF

Photo: Marjorie Elzey

Who: Philadelphia Union (2021: 0-1-0, 1 points, 4 way tie for 7th place in the East) vs.Inter Miami CF (0-0-1, 0 points, 11th place in the East)

What: 2021 MLS Regular Season.  

Where: Subaru Park, Chester, PA

When: Saturday,  April 24 at 8:00 p.m. (Eastern)

Watch: PHL17, ESPN+,

Whistle: Referee: Alex Chilowicz. Assistant Referees: Corey Parker, Diego Blas. 4th Official: Jose Carlos Rivera AVAR: Brian Dunn

The Philadelphia Union come home to Subaru Park on Saturday to face Inter Miami CF for their second MLS league game in this nascent season.  Following a scrappy nil-nil tie in Columbus, the home team looks to add three points to their total against a Miami team once again full of promise and expectations but mired in mediocrity.

For a home opener that begins a very busy stretch for the team, the Union will have about 5,000 fans cheering them on.

Scouting Report: Inter Miami CF

After a disappointing inaugural season, Inter Miami’s team owner David Beckham dispatched with manager Diego Alonso and brought in his old Manchester United teammate Phil Neville to take over the reins. The results did not change, as Miami lost their first game by a 3-2 score to the LA Galaxy. Despite an early lead, Miami seemed to run out of gas and gave up advantages of 1-0 and 2-1.

If that game serves as a template, expect Miami to press high while in a 4-4-2, changing to a 4-2-3-1 while in the attack. In both instances, forward Gonzalo Higuain spent a lot of time in the midfield helping to move the ball forward in the build-up.

In addition to Higuain, Miami has other marquee talent on the pitch. Rodolfo Pizarro is an attacking midfielder with the ability to work in tight spaces and the vision to find runners. Gonzolo Higuin has been a top striker and his Juventus teammate Blaise Matuidi is consistently excellent at the #8 spot. These players did not perform well last year, but with some MLS time under their belts perhaps they are ready to break out.

Former Union player John McCarthy will have his own homecoming Saturday, after he finally earned a starting MLS gig as the Miami goalkeeper this season following the retirement of Nick Rimando.  He gave up some soft(ish) goals in  his debut last week against the Galaxy but will be sure to perform better this week. 

Suspended:  None

Scouting report: Union

At this point, there is little mystery in how the Union will approach the game. The 4-4-2 diamond is the team’s formation of choice and they rarely stray.  They will press high trying to force turnovers and score in the transition. The back line will need to keep close tabs on the aforementioned Miami talent.

The big question is who will start and where?  Cory Burke and Ilsinho will be available for up to thirty minutes  – so if forward Sergio Santos can start, then Fontana can move from forward to the 10 with Monteiro back at the more familiar 8.  This will leave Leon Flach, Ilsinho and Burke ready as substitutes.

Resting starters is of the utmost importance. The Union play Atlanta on Tuesday for the first of two legs in the second round of the Concacaf Champions league. In fact the Union play seven games in the next 22 days. Quite the grueling schedule.

Best case scenario is the Union jump to a multi-goal lead and Coach Curtin can put in some of the youngsters (whom he is reluctant to blood in a close game) and use up all 5 of the team’s substitutions.

Injury Report:  OUT: Jack De Vries

Suspension Report:  None

Key Matchup:  Union Defense vs Miami Attackers

Miami puts some pedigreed talent up top and while they have underperformed, the threat remains. The Union defense has earned clean sheets in all three of their games this year – even without the services of Mark McKenzie and Ray Gaddis.

Player to Watch: Anthony Fontana

Fontana was not involved much in last week’s game. Whether he moves back to midfield or is forced to stay up top, the Union will need a bigger contribution from the homegrown.

Prediction:  Philadelphia 3-1 Miami

The Union prove to be too much for Miami – especially at home. Fontana has a brace and Higuain gets a goal via a PK (The Union slow-clap).


Philadelphia Union:   +272

Inter Miami CF:          -112

Draw:                           +285

Nothing to argue about here.



  1. I definitely missed something. When was the change made to allow five substitutions instead of three, and what was the rationale given for that rule change?

  2. From The Athletic’s coverage of the 2021-2022 IFAB Changes to the Laws of the game :
    3. Five substitutions in three opportunities
    Up to five substitutes will still be able to be used per match per team because of COVID’s impact. The substitutions can only be made at three substitution opportunities during the regular time of a match (before the game and halftime are not counted against these three opportunities).

  3. Betting odds look way off

  4. Miami looked pretty good offensively against the Galaxy and might have won if not for a good goalkeeping performance from Jonathan Bond. I still expect the Union to win, but this could be a really competitive game.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *