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Odds taken from Bet365.
Philadelphia Union go into this as the favorites. They don’t look as indomitable as they did a year ago but still find themselves in fourth place on the Eastern Conference table. Inter Miami have had a torrid start to the season and have already sacked Phil Neville from the managerial post. Lionel Messi is set to play his first game for the club in a month’s time, but his singing will be of no help to them this weekend.
Philadelphia Union are playing this match at home, which gives them another edge in this tie. They’ve been a bit inconsistent this season, but their home record hasn’t been a big issue. Inter Miami have been woeful in home and away ties, so there’s not much to look forward to with this team until Messi joins.
An Inter Miami win looks completely off the cards currently. Inter Miami haven’t drawn a game all season, so that doesn’t look like a good pick either. There isn’t a lot of value in picking the Philadelphia Union, but it’s best to go with the safe bet for this one.
This might come as a surprise, but Inter Miami have got the superior head-to-head record heading into this tie. They’ve won four, lost two, and drawn two of their eight matches against Philadelphia Union, which is very impressive, considering Philadelphia Union have been one of the best sides in the league since Inter Miami’s arrival into the MLS.
The last meeting between the two sides occurred in March. Inter Miami won 2-0 on the day thanks to a goal in each half from Corentin Jean (32’) and Robert Taylor (77’). Inter Miami looked like they were going places at the time, whereas Philadelphia Union looked unrecognizable from the team in recent years.
There wasn’t a lot between the two sides as far as stats were concerned. Inter Miami had 47% of the possession and took 10 shots on goal compared to Philadelphia Union’s 11. Inter Miami were more clinical on the day and were ultimately worthy winners.
Inter Miami succumbed to their 12th defeat of the league season over the weekend against the New England Revolution. The match was lost in the first half after Carles Gill slotted home a penalty in the 27th minute, and Matt Polster added another seven minutes later.
Bobby Wood added a third six minutes into the second half to give New England a safety blanket. Josef Martinez scored a consolation goal from the spot in the 84th minute; the match ended 3-1 in favor of the New England Revolution.
Inter Miami put in a decent shift with 14 shots on goal and 57% of the possession, but this had partly to do with New England’s excellent start to the match. The home side took their foot off the gas once they went 2-0 up and just walked the ball around when they went up 3-0. Inter Miami have much to look forward to this season with Messi’s arrival, but they shouldn’t be giving him so much to do.
We know Lionel Messi loves a challenge, but his challenge for this season could be up there with any he’s faced before in his remarkable career. The Argentine legend is expected to play his first game for his new club next month, and it doesn’t seem like Inter Miami are going to get too many points before he makes his first appearance for the club.
Inter Miami are in a strange position currently: they’re in last place on the Eastern Conference table, but anything other than silverware will be considered disappointing after the season ends. Messi’s first task will be taking Inter Miami to the playoffs. In the past, the likes of Wayne Rooney have taken struggling MLS sides to the playoffs, but that’s not going to make things any easier for Lionel Messi.
The news of his arrival was expected to give the entire club a lift, but that’s still not occurred, which is a bit concerning. There’s also no guarantee that Messi will be fit for the entire season, so the other players need to pull their socks up and start doing a bit better before he starts a game.
Philadelphia Union dropped points for a second week running against Orlando City. It wasn’t the loss this time, but that’s not going to be any consolation for a team with Philadelphia Union’s ambitions. They had to fight back in this game, which is a positive, but it should’ve never got to that point.
Duncan McGuire and Martin Ojeda gave Orlando the lead with strikes in the 13th and 54th minutes of the game, but Jack McGlynn got one back for the Union in the 60th minute. Jose Martinez’s 90th-minute equalizer ensured they got something out of this game, but it was still a disappointing result.
Philadelphia had 56% of the possession and took 10 shots to Orlando’s eight, so it was a fair result in the end, but the performance and the start to the game was a bit concerning. Philadelphia Union can’t take Inter Miami too lightly because they have a poor record against them.
Philadelphia Union were ever so close to lifting their first MLS Cup last season, but Gareth Bale’s last-minute heroics took the game to penalties and helped LAFC clinch their first league title instead. There wasn’t a lot separating the two sides who played last season’s finals and the final was a confirmation of the same.
Philadelphia Union still have some of the characteristics of a top side, but many other sides have looked sharper this season. Not to mention, their upcoming opponents have just signed the greatest soccer player of this generation.
At the start of the season, star players like Daniel Gazdag looked like they still hadn’t recovered from last season’s defeat. Even though they’ve been a top-three Eastern Conference side this season, they don’t look like a side that could get over the line and win the big prize.
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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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