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Can smell silverware

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There’s no stopping the Lionel Messi-powered Inter Miami train. Down in the doldrums when he arrived, Messi, along with his Barcelona friends- Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba- has his team on the brink of their first-ever silverware in the club’s small history.

Into the Leagues Cup semifinal, Inter Miami face Philadelphia Union for the right to fight for the trophy in the final.

The game is on August 15 and this time, Messi won’t have the luxury of home support. It will be played at Subaru Park, Philadelphia’s home ground.

Here’s the match preview, buildup, team news, and more as Lionel Messi tries to create history within his first seven games for the club!

Inter Miami vs Philadelphia Union preview

Inter Miami are riding a wave of momentum. The teams they were struggling to get a result against before Messi, which led them to the basement of the league table, are being blown away now.

Charlotte FC were given a lesson in attacking football in the quarterfinals. As expected, Lionel Messi was at the heart of it. When he wasn’t scoring, he was running at the defence, scrambling the opposition, and creating space for others.

Of course, he marked the game with a goal of his own, but the scary prospect for others is that he is making his teammates better. Robert Taylor and Josef Martinez are enjoying life with the Argentine.

Philadelphia Union, however, present the toughest test yet for Messi’s charges. Union are third in the Eastern Conference in the MLS table, the same conference in which Miami are bottom. They’ve beaten formidable contenders like New York Red Bulls en route to the semifinal and can’t be counted out against Miami’s marquee stars.

Inter Miami vs Philadelphia Union predicted lineup

Inter Miami team news

It is a testament to how quickly Messi and Co have settled into their new surroundings that Inter Miami’s lineup pretty much selects itself after just five games with Messi.

Even the defence showed signs of clicking in the last game, as they kept their first clean sheet since matchday 2 of the tournament against Atalanta United.

Predicted Inter Miami XI: Callender, Yedlin, Miller, Kryvtsov, Alba, Arroyo, Busquets, Cremaschi, Messi, Martinez, Taylor

Philadelphia Union team news

Philadelphia Union don’t have any standout superstars who would be instantly recognisable by fans of European football. However, they have the team spirit and tactical cohesiveness that makes them a threat to their more esteemed counterparts.

It isn’t for no reason that they’re third in the MLS table and nailed-on to qualify for the playoffs. They have a strong defence and combine it with the occasional loosening of handbrakes as Queretaro found out in the group stage, losing 5-1 to Union.

Predicted Philadelphia Union XI: Blake, Glesnes, Elliott, Lowe, Martinez, Mbaizo, Wagner, Anez, McGlynn, Caranza, Uhre

Inter Miami vs Philadelphia Union prediction

Of all the games Inter Miami have played so far, this promises to be the most closely-fought one.

On paper, there is no match between the teams but football games are not played on paper. Philadelphia scratch and claw for every inch on the pitch and even if Miami win, it is unlikely to be a romp.

Add to that the fact that this game is not at Inter Miami’s stadium, DRV PNK Stadium and this becomes a potential banana skin fixture for Lionel Messi and Co.

Still, expect Inter Miami to weather the early storm which will pave the way for their quality to shine.

FootTheBall predicts Inter Miami 2-1 Philadelphia Union.

Vatsal Gupta
A die-hard Red Devil, who has straight up not had a good time since 2012. Lives on Korean dramas and books and can often be heard talking about armchair psychological stuff.

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