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Match preview: Inter Miami CF vs Philadelphia Union

Photo: Marjorie Elzey

Who: Philadelphia Union (2021: 6-4-5, 23 points, 4th place (pts) in the East; 6th place (ppg)) vs. Inter Miami CF(2-8-2, 8 points, 14th place (last) in the East)

What: 2021 MLS Regular Season

Where: DRV PNK Stadium, Miami Florida

When: Sunday, 7:30pm (Eastern)

Watch: PHL17; ESPN+

Whistle: Referee: Joseph Dickerson, Ast. Referee 1: Jeffrey Greeson, Ast. Referee 2: Gjovalin Bori, Fourth Official: Elijio Arreguin, VAR: Sorin Stoica

The Philadelphia Union look to get back to winning ways as they travel across the Sunshine State to take on Inter Miami FC on Sunday night.  Both teams will be coming off of short weeks, with Inter Miami FC falling 5-0 in their Wednesday night clash with New England, while the Union fell 2-1 in their Thursday night matchup with Orlando City SC.

The Union have the edge against Miami in this matchup’s short history with a 2-0-1 record.  However it was Miami that took the spoils in the last installment, winning 2-1 at Subaru Park back on April 24 thanks to goals from the Higuain brothers.

Scouting Report: Inter-Miami FC

This is just the club’s second season in MLS, but they reached rock-bottom midweek with their 5-0 lose, at home, against New England.  The team has now lost six straight games, allowing 13 goals and scoring just one during that span.

Nothing is clicking for this squad, and head coach Phil Neville is now on the hot-seat as a result.

One of the more troubling aspects of their midweek loss was that Neville had his first-choice lineup available to him.  He used a 4-2-3-1 formation, featuring Gonzalo Higuain at the No. 9, Rodolfo Pizarro at the No. 10, Lewis Morgan and Robbie Robinson on the outside wing positions, and Blaise Matuidi in central midfield.  Those are some big, built-to-win now names.  But the team registered just 1 shot on goal during their midweek match, and their performance was riddled with poor turnovers and even poorer defending on set-pieces.

“I’ve said the word unacceptable in the past,” Neville said after the games. “This feels worse than that.”

Injury Report:

OUT: Ian Fray (undisclosed injury)
OUT: Sami Guediri (undisclosed injury)
OUT: Joevin Jones (undisclosed injury)
OUT: Kelvin Leerdam (international duty)

Scouting Report: Philadelphia Union

The Union followed up their 2-1, rain-delayed win against DC United over the weekend with a midweek stumble against Orlando City SC, which saw the Union drop from second to fourth in MLS’ Eastern Conference.

Head coach Jim Curtin continues to deploy his go-to 4-4-2 diamond, which will most likely be the case again come Sunday.  But with the short turnaround between games, both of which are being played in the draining Florida heat, Union fans are expecting to see some amount of squad rotation for Sunday’s match.

The most apparent would seem to be Alejandro Bedoya, who was visibly gassed during the last half-hour against Orlando City.  Leon Flach should see himself in the starting 11 come Sunday.

With forward Cory Burke still away on international duty with Jamaica in the Gold Cup, Curtin has less flexibility to make changes up top at the moment.  Quinn Sullivan provided some positivity coming off the bench in the second half on Wednesday, replacing Sergio Santos; so it’s possible Curtin could give him the starting nod despite Sullivan being more of a true midfielder.

Defensively, the Union back four have had their struggles as of late. Sunday presents an opportunity for Stuart Findlay to finally see some meaningful minutes.

Injury Report:

OUT: Jack de Vries (concussion protocol)
OUT: Andre Blake (international duty)
OUT: Cory Burke (international duty)
OUT: Alvas Powell (international duty)
QUESTIONABLE: Ilsinho (groin surgery); Anthony Fontana (concussion protocol)

Key Matchup: Gazdag vs. Miami CDMs

Gazdag has shown signs that he’s starting to get comfortable playing with his new teammates; most notably his game against DC United which saw him get the assist on the opening goal.  Seeing how New England was able to completely dismantle the Miami defense, he’ll have a really nice opportunity to showcase his playmaking capabilities on Sunday

Player to Watch: Gonzalo Higuain

Some MLS talking heads are almost ready to call Gonzalo Higuain’s MLS stint a bust.  To be fair, he’s netted 5 goals this season so far; but he certainly hasn’t lived up to his $7M a year contract.  With that said, he’s still a threat to bag a goal every time he’s on the field, and he has some history with the Union.

Predication: Miami 2 – 2 Philadelphia

In a strange way, it can be unfortunate to face a team that just bottomed-out.  Look back to the Union’s match against the Fire the week after the Fire bottomed out themselves with a 1-0 loss to last place FC Cincy.  The Union are without Andre Blake again, coming off a very short week, and are on the road, where they’ve failed to win their last five matches (0-2-3).

8 Comments

  1. I think a 2-2 draw is likely. I would love to see the Union explode, though, with a dominant 3-0 win…

  2. Miami is a mess, coach likely gone if not for being Beckham’s friend.

    Tie is not an option. By Sun morning we could be in 5th place… by Sunday evening alot worse if we do not get 3 points.

    DOOP!

  3. OneManWolfpack says:

    This is a must win. Not like, the season is over if they lose, but I don’t see a way they should even draw this game.

  4. I wouldn’t underestimate a Phil Neville with his back to the wall. Frankly, it seems like the lineup that he has available should also be self motivated to rebound from their embarrassment against NE. They are still professionals and still have egos. This is a bad time to need to face them at home. With that said, Ale needs rest, the back line needs a good game and it would be good to see the rest of the midfield work together for another game. Good things can come from more time playing together.

  5. Just ridiculous.

    For Bedoya to still be in this game at 74 minutes is just insane. And replacing Monteiro was another bone head Curtin move.

    Ridiculous.

  6. 6th place… isn’t that nice.

    WE NEED SOMEONE TO STEP UP… SHOOT!!!

  7. Embarrassing…
    Now in 5th place.
    1 pt out of 6 road trip.
    Ridiculous.
    Inexcusable.

  8. Played down to the worst team in the league. Inexcusable. 1 point in 6 roadtrip. Ridiculous.

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