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● Inter Miami CF defeated CF Montreal in their opening game of the new season
● Philadelphia Union defeated Columbus Crew in their opening game of the new season
● When these two sides met each other last time, Philadelphia Union won 2-1
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Pick: Philadelphia Union to win (+115)
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Inter Miami CF finished sixth in the Eastern Division last season and qualified for the playoffs. However, they were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs against New York City FC. This season, Inter Miami CF have started off with a crucial win over last season’s conference semi-finalists CF Montreal.
Philadelphia Union were on a rampage last season and it almost handed them the trophy, but unfortunately, they failed at the final step and had to see the wait for their first-ever MLS title go on for at least another season. The Union have started the season with a commanding 4-1 win over Columbus Crew.
Day one of the new MLS season delivered quite a few surprising and shocking results and that is why predicting this encounter will not be an easy task. Judging by the limited information this season, it seems Philadelphia Union will nick this and make it two wins in a row.
There is not a lot of history between these two sides as they have only met six times in the past. Half of those encounters have been won by Philadelphia Union, while Inter Miami CF have only won once. Two games have ended in draws.
The last time these two teams met at the DRV PNK Stadium, Daniel Gazdag and Cory Burke scored as the Union beat Inter Miami CF 2-1. Gonzalo Higuain had pulled one back in the last ten minutes.
Inter Miami CF have never beaten Philadelphia Union at home in two attempts. They have lost one and drawn the other. Inter Miami’s only win over the Union came in the 2021 season when a Higuain brace helped Miami come from behind and beat Philadelphia Union 2-1 at Subaru Park.
Despite qualifying for the playoffs last season, Inter Miami CF could not create any iconic moments especially after knowing it was Higuain’s last season before announcing his retirement from club football.
The club were dumped out of the playoffs in the first round itself after they went down 2-0 against New York City FC. This season, Inter Miami CF are out to set things right. The void left by Higuain is a huge one to fill but reinforcements have been brought in to do the same.
The first rectification has already been struck off with a win on opening day. In the league phase last season, Inter Miami CF lost to CF Montreal on the final day. This time around, Miami have started with a win and now they are in search for more.
The focus in the transfer market was on attackers to replace Higuain. But Inter Miami CF also roped in a couple of defenders and after the first game, it looks like the duo are the perfect signings for Inter Miami CF this season.
Centre-back Sergey Krivtsov joined the club from Shakhtar Donetsk, while left-back Franco Negri has signed from Godoy Cruz. Both players were ushered into the starting eleven for the first match, and both were quite impressive.
While Negri completed the most dribbles in the match and won nine out of 15 duels on the left flank, Krivtsov hopped onto the scoresheet as he scored his new team’s opening goal of the campaign.
Since November 2022, Inter Miami CF have signed four strikers so that the club has multiple attacking options to rely on for the rest of the season. Leonardo Campana was signed from Wolves before Jake LaCava was reeled in from St. Louis City 2.
Josef Martinez left Atlanta United to join Inter Miami CF in January and finally, AIK’s Nicolas Stefanelli has also joined the squad. Stefanelli suffered a muscle injury in the last match and could be out for a couple of weeks.
Martinez made his debut alongside Corentin Jean against CF Montreal but neither striker managed to find the back of the net. 21-year-old Shanyder Borgelin came off the bench to score Miami’s second and also to put himself in contention for a starting eleven spot.
After clinching a 4-1 win on opening day, Philadelphia Union will not be looking to ease their foot off the pedal. A commanding win is what they needed to get a statement of intent across the two divisions.
The next opponents will be a tough nut to crack for the Union despite the favorable head-to-head record. However, the side will be looking for gaps to exploit, just the way they did against Columbus Crew last week.
Consistency will be key as the Union are expected to make little to no changes to their lineup and surely will not change their formation as it worked exceptionally well last time around. Daniel Gazdag will be looking for his third goal of the season.
Philadelphia Union made a crucial signing in January when they brought Joaquin Torres to the club from CF Montreal. Fans were eager to see the quality attacking midfielder last week but he was not in the starting lineup.
Coach Jim Curtin thought it would be great to ease Torres into the new team and hence the Spaniard started from the bench. By the time he came on, the Union already held a commanding 3-1 lead.
However, Torres still made his contribution after coming on in the 79th minute. It took the midfielder only a minute to set up Julian Carranza for the fourth goal in the 80th minute as the Union waltzed away with three points.
Curtin’s 4-1-2-1-2 formation suits Philadelphia Union and does not disrupt their rhythm. Jose Andres Martinez is solid playing the anchorman in the Union’s midfield behind the central midfield pairing of Alejandro Bedoya and Leon Flach.
In front of these three players comes the prolific Gazdag and ahead of Gazdag are the two clinical strikers in Carranza and Mikael Uhre, who won the most duels in the match last week. This is a formation that suits every Union player, including their new signing Torres.
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● Teams: Inter Miami CF vs Philadelphia Union
● Location: DRV PNK Stadium
● Time: Saturday, March 4 at 7:30 pm ET
● How to watch: Univision networks TUDN and UniMas, ESPN Deportes, Telemundo and Fox Deportes
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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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