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Wayne Rooney’s DC United will look to build on their winning momentum against Inter Miami after their hard-fought 1-0 away win against FC Dallas earlier this week. The win comes as a major boost for DC United after they were humbled 0-2 by a 10-man Nashville side in their first fixture of July.
However, in their last outing against FC Dallas, the lone goal from Taxiarchis Fountas in the 73rd minute took DC United home. The goal was assisted by Polish midfielder Mateusz Klich who has been clinical with his intent this season. He is the leading assist provider for DC United in the ongoing season, with eight to his name from 22 appearances.
It was only the second time that the DC United line-up did not feature their aggressive center forward, Benteke. The Belgian was forced out of the lineup with a one-match suspension for his accumulation of yellow cards.
Meanwhile, DC United goalkeeper Alex Bono was rarely made to work with the few chances created by FC Dallas. The hosts had only two shots on target in comparison to the one chance converted by the visiting side to secure all three points.
The cause of concern for Inter Miami is far too many as they still wait for the arrival of former Barcelona teammates Lionel Messi and Sergio Busquets. Inter Miami will be searching for their first win in 10 matches in the MLS against DC United. In their last match, the outgoing coach Javier Morales guided his side to a 2-2 draw against Columbus Crew.
The result was made possible by the talismanic partnership of Leonardo Campana and Josef Martinez, who scored one goal each to salvage a point for their side. Inter Miami had to come back twice to secure the win after Columbus Crew’s Darlington Nagbe (23rd minute) scored the opener while Christian Ramirez (69’) chipped in with a second goal to regain the lead for the side.
The new Inter Miami coach Gerardo Martinez will have his task cut out against DC United in the upcoming fixture. But his coaching experience, which includes managing Messi for Argentina and Atlanta United in the MLS, might come in handy for the club.
Inter Miami holds a shambolic record against DC United. In their last six meetings in the MLS, DC United has reigned supreme four times while the hosts have won only once, with one game ending in a draw.
In the previous meeting that took place in June, Morales opted for a 4-2-3-1 formation for Inter Miami, while Rooney played with his 3-4-1-2 combination. Inter Miami displayed resilience in the first half after being a man down from the eighth minute. Kamal Miller was sent off with a red card for denying a goal-scoring opportunity with a rash tackle on Benteke. However, DC failed to make their advantage count in the first half, with Benteke getting the only clear chance in the first half.
The outcome of the fixture was decided in 20 minutes of the second half as Donovan Pines scored the opener for Inter Miami in the 76th minute while Benteke doubled the lead in the 90th. Meanwhile, Inter Miami found the consolation goal in injury time through Ian Fray.
In 2022, the two teams squared off twice, with Inter Miami winning the away fixture and their home fixture resulting in a draw. Notably, DC United has not beaten Inter Miami since June 2021 but will have a real chance to break the jinx in the upcoming fixture.
DC United will look to hold their fortress at home as they have lost only one of their five fixtures in the MLS. They have drawn twice, won two times, and lost only once at home. It was against Real Salt Lake that they lost their last home fixture 1-2. Incidentally, their biggest win at home came recently against Cincinnati, where they clinched a thumping 3-0 victory.
Meanwhile, the struggle for a win away from home continues for Inter Miami. They have lost seven fixtures straight away from home. The losing streak started with their 1-2 defeat to Columbus on April 30. The club suffered a heavy 4-1 defeat to Philadelphia in their most recent away fixture in June.
After serving his one-match suspension, the leading goal scorer for DC United, Benteke, is set to be back in the scheme of things for the fixture against Inter Miami. Benteke has been the go-to goal scorer for the Rooney-managed club, as he has netted eight times in 20 appearances and will look to add to his tally. He is currently five goals behind the leading goal scorer for the golden boot and has three assists to his name.
In the absence of Benteke, Fountas took the goal-scoring onus for DC United and scored the winner for the side in their last fixture. The Greek forward has contributed with five goals in 15 appearances in the ongoing season. Meanwhile, Polish midfielder Mateusz Klich will be the player to watch out for in the midfield, as he has already assisted seven times this season.
Inter Miami have been over-reliant on their talismanic forwards Martinez and Campana in front of the goal. However, the forwards have not turned their goal-scoring prowess into match-winning efforts in most games for Inter Miami.
Martinez remains the most goals scorer for Inter Miami with six goals from 18 appearances, while Campana has contributed four from 14 fixtures. The duo has found support in Brazilian midfielder Jean Mota who has four assists to his name, while Robert Taylor, DeAndre Yedlin, and Benjamin Cremaschi have assisted thrice each.
However, the signing of Messi and Busquets will change the fortunes of Inter Miami in the upcoming fixtures. It will be a reunion for Messi with his former Argentine manager Martinez at the club. The dates of their respective debut for the David Beckham co-owned club are still to be announced. But the duo's experience will benefit the club to improve their poor run of form and build a much-improved squad ahead of the upcoming season.
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With an interest in strategy and mathematics, applying that to sports writing was the natural progression. A writer at night and the founder of a gaming company, Nikhil’s previous experience includes working with ESPN for five years. His specialization includes soccer, basketball, tennis, and esports betting. Email: [email protected]More info on Nikhil Kalro
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