Photo essays

In pictures: Philadelphia Union 1-4 Inter Miami C.F.

Get ready for the longest pictorial recap of any game Marjorie Elzey has covered for the Philly Soccer Page. The game had so many moments that showcased how great Lionel Messi, along with long-time teammates, Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets are and how they changed the mindset of Inter Miami C.F. The Miami team has a confidence that was missing the last time the two teams met in July.

The Philadelphia Union attempted to take on Lionel Messi and Inter Miami C.F. on August 15, in the semi-final of the Leagues Cup. The stadium was filled with a mix of fans — Union, Messi, and Inter Miami were all represented. Most of the fans were there to see Messi, who was in Chester for the first time since signing with the MLS in July. Loyal Union fans gave Messi the traditional Philly welcome of booing him and yelling “sucks” when announced in the starting line-up.

It was a disappointing night for the Union, who gave up four goals, one in the first three minutes of the game by Josef Martínez.  A new formation and a change in the starting line-up did not help the Union find their rhythm. They were late to the ball most times and outplayed, not just by Lionel Messi but, Josef Martínez, Jordi Alba, and DeAndre Yedlin — all of whom challenged and won against the Union.

The moment most of the stadium had been waiting for happened in the 20th minute when Lionel Messi scored his only goal of the night. Messi’s shot of 32.1 meters, is his longest shot since joining MLS. Right before the half, Jordi Alba scored and celebrated in front of the Sons of Ben with a heart, kisses, and sucking his thumb.

After three Miami goals in the first half, Alejandro Bedoya made his debut after a long recovery from an injury sustained in July. He brought a little spark in the 73rd minute, netting the Union their only goal. Once Miami scored their fourth goal by David Ruiz in the 84th minute, fans started to leave the stadium in mass. In the end, the better team won the match, the Union walked off the field humbled in defeat but not until after many of them took photos with Messi.


The Philly Sports Guy poses with the Leagues Cup displayed on the plaza.


Back from injury, Alejandro Bedoya takes the field, for the first time since July 15, for warm-ups.


Lionel Messi heads the ball during warm-ups.


Philly native and Hall of Fame boxer Bernard Hopkins bangs the drum to get the crowd hyped before the opening ceremonies.


Lionel Messi and Benjamin Cremaschi share a few words before the opening whistle.


Jack Elliot defends Josef Martínez in the first minute of the game.


Jack Elliot is unable to stop Josef Martínez’s shot, resulting in Miami’s first goal of the night.


Jordi Alba kisses Josef Martínez after he scored in the 3rd minute of the game.


Nathan Harriel looks for the opportunity to win the ball against Robert Taylor.


Jakob Glesnes wins the ball with a slide tackle against Robert Taylor.


José Martínez laughs at the head referee as Sergio Busquets and Daniel Gazdag watch.


Jim Curtin and the entire Philadelphia Union bench watch as Lionel Messi sets up to take a free kick.


José Martínez keeps possession of the ball against Lionel Messi.


Lionel Messi reacts to a failed attempt by a teammate at a goal.


Nathan Harriel is in position to defend Jordi Alba as he moves the ball into position in their attacking half.


Josef Martínez looks to beat defender, Jack Elliot.


Head referee Daniel Quintero Huitron has stern words for José Martínez after he argues the call.


José Martínez pleads his case to Lionel Messi after a foul was called against the Union.


Lionel Messi moves the ball into position to take a shot against Andre Blake.


Lionel Messi strikes the ball 32.1 meters (105ft) from the goal making this his longest goal since he joining MLS.


Lionel Messi and Jordi Alba embrace after Messi’s only goal of the night, coming in the 20th minute.


A hard tackle sends Dixon Arroyo to the ground and earns Jesús Bueno a yellow card.


Damion Lowe stops a pass by DeAndre Yedlin.


Messi falls to the pitch after a challenge from Damion Lowe. Daniel Gazdag reads the play and gets the ball.


José Martínez wins the ball against Dixon Arroyo as Josef Martínez prepares to defend him.


Leon Flach and Lionel Messi go up for a header.


Lionel Messi drives toward the goal as Jack Elliot and Jakob Glesnes miscommunicate and take each other down — an unfortunate moment that summed up the match.


Andre Blake looks at a smiling Lionel Messi as he makes the save in the second half.


Jesús Bueno keeps the ball from Jordi Alba near the center line.


Damion Lowe keeps the ball from Lionel Messi in Miami’s attacking half of the field.


Jordi Alba beats Nathan Harriel and Jack Elliot to get a shot off and score the third goal of the match.


Jordi Alba shows love to the Sons of Ben after his goal.


Jordi Alba reacts to the River End after he scored Miami’s third goal of the match.


Kai Wagner heads the ball toward the middle of the field.


Daniel Gazdag leaps over Sergii Kryvtsov and gets a shot toward the goal.


Daniel Gazdag and Chris Donovan react to a missed goal opportunity.


Nathan Harriel reacts to Benjamin Cremaschi winning the ball off a corner.


José Martínez talks to the medical staff of Inter Miami during an injury timeout.


A sliding tackle by Mikael Uhre did not phase DeAndre Yedlin’s ability to keep the ball.


Jack McGlynn gets a pass upfield through Sergio Busquets and Benjamin Cremaschi.


Chris Donovan attempts a goal with a scissor kick outside the goal area.


Drake Callender looks into the net for the ball after Alejandro Bedoya scored.


Union fans had a glimmer of hope after Alejandro Bedoya took the field and scored the only goal of the night.


David Ruíz makes a lunging tackle against Quinn Sullivan.


A frustrated Kai Wagner has words with the head referee, Daniel Quintero Huitron, during the second half of the match.


In the final minutes of the game, a pitch invader is stopped by an Inter Miami staff member before he could get to Messi.


Jim Curtin leaves the field after the game with Kia Wagner in the background.


The run for the Leagues Cup is over for the Philadelphia Union but the quest to secure a pot in the 2024 Concacaf Champions Cup continues. The Union will face off against CF Monterrey at 6 p.m. on August 19. The final between Inter Miami C.F. and Nashville SC will take place right after the third-place game finishes.


  1. Great shots, Marjorie. Just wish you had more Union glory to shoot.
    I’m sure someone else will correct this, but there are 4 photos in the middle of this set where the caption misidentifies Jordi Alba as Sergio Busquets.

    • Thank you for catching my mistake. I knew it was Jordi Alba but I still made the mistake. I have updated the captions to reflect the corrected player. I appreciate the time you took to read the captions.

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