Inter Miami CF beat Philadelphia Union Tuesday night 4-1 in front of a packed Subaru Park in Chester, PA. Inter Miami was slated to play against a team in Philadelphia that has displayed nothing but excellence for the past several years. This match was definitely going to be Miami’s toughest matchup since the arrival of Lionel Messi.
Since 2020 no other MLS team has had more points, scored more goals, or conceded fewer goals than the Union. A hard-nosed, blue-collared team that has a faithful fan base that displays the same grit every time they host an opponent on their field. Coming into today’s game, Philadelphia had only been defeated once at home in the last two seasons. During a pregame Interview Philadelphia’s head coach, Jim Curtain, stated “It’s the glitz and glamour of Miami versus the grit and blue-collar of Philadelphia.”
There were some that were concerned for Inter Miami coming into this game. Firstly, Miami’s starting 11 have averaged a total of 4,211 minutes so far this tournament and have an average age of 29.5. When compared to Phily’s 3,603 minutes and average age of 26.5, many questioned whether Miami’s players were going to be able to keep up with the Philadelphia players. Secondly, Miami was traveling to a hostile environment in Suburo Park where the Union have been practically undefeated.
Inter Miami CF’s First Goal by Josef Martinez
As the game began both teams were practicing patience and maintaining positions as Miami maintained possession of the ball for the first couple minutes. Immediately, it was obvious to see that Philadelphia’s game plan was to not press, at least not early in the game, and for their midfielder Daniel Gazdag to shadow Miami’s Sergio Busquets. This specific game plan gave Miami defenders plenty of time to look up the field and assess once they would receive the ball.
It’s with this in mind that Inter Miami quickly struck first. Defender Serhiy Kryvtsov, in only the 2nd minute of the game, passed the ball about 50 yards down the field to Josef Martinez who was heavily covered by two Union defenders. The ball landed perfectly just ahead of Martinez who struck the ball from the top of the box toward the far post and hit the back of the net to give Miami the lead. This is the Josef that many have been waiting to see. He drew first blood with a world-class goal that took the air out of the Union players and fans.
Inter Miami CF’s Second Goal by Lionel Messi
As the game continued, Kryvtsov was barely pressured which would allow him to push the ball up the field and survey. Once again, he spotted Josef Martinez, this time wide open in the center of the field, and passed him the ball. Josef turned and found Messi to his left making a run with no defenders on him. Messi received the ball, took a touch, and did the unthinkable which caught the entire backline and goalkeeper off guard. He struck the ball from 30 yards out and made a tremendous goal to increase Miami’s lead to two in the 19th minute.
Inter Miami CF’s Third Goal by Jordi Alba
In the dying moments of the first half, Robert Taylor absolutely dominated Philadelphia Union’s midfield all on his own. He began by taking the ball away from a Union midfielder like he was taking his lunch money and then dribbled away from the pressure toward the center of the field. He spotted Jordi Alba making a run on the left side of the field and made a spectacular through pass straight to the front foot of an open Alba. Jordi proceeded to attack and ultimately scored with a lovely left-footed kick. Not only did this increase Miami’s lead but gave Jordi Alba his first goal as an Inter Miami Player.
Philadelphia Union made changes as they entered into the second half of the game. They subbed in Jack McGlynn and Mikael Uhre in hopes of producing more goal-scoring opportunities.
Additionally, they changed their formation from 5-4-1 to 4-4-2. Philadelphia definitely came out the gate swinging. They were pressing Miami’s defense causing turnovers and a lot of pressure. They played with more aggression and urgency ultimately creating a great amount of threatening plays against Miami’s backline.
Highlighting one particular play in the 54th minute was when a Union midfielder made a long pass to an open Union forward making a run down the field. Once the Union player received the ball he attacked toward goal and dribbled past the Miami goalkeeper who came off his line. The Union player had an open shot with only one Miami defender making a last-second slide near the goal. He flat-out overshot the ball, denying his team a clear goal.
Philadelphia Union Respond with a Goal in the 73rd Minute
In the 69th minute, Philadelphia subbed in Alejandro Bedoya in hopes of giving the Union a spark from their veteran captain and he did not fail to deliver. Just two minutes later Philadelphia earned a corner kick which led to a Phily goal by non other than Alejandro Bedoya.
Inter Miami CF’s 4th Goal by Homegrown David Ruiz
Bedoya’s goal gave Philly some hope which led to more pressure and aggressive play. But, in the 83rd minute of the game Miami sealed their victory by scoring a 4th goal. DeAndre Yedlin made a gorgeous through pass to David Ruiz who was in the 18-yard box. Ruiz received the ball and snuck it past the talented Andre Blake with a quick strike toward the goal.
Key Take Away
Philadelphia Union had plenty of opportunities to at the very least put more points on the board and possibly even tie the game. They definitely shot themselves in the foot on several key offensive plays. They took 16 shots whereas Miami only took 5. However, only 4 of Phily’s 16 shots were on target. Out of the 5 shots that Miami took, 4 were not only on target but landed in the back of the net.
Additionally, they took a whopping 8 corners whereas Miami did not earn any corners during the entire game.
Philadelphia was way more aggressive than Miami with 15 total fouls and 2 yellow cards. Miami only had 4 fouls and 1 yellow card.
Drake Callendar played lights out! The man made several spectacular saves during the game. One key save came in the 59th minute when a Union player crossed the ball into the box to a teammate that made an amazing header toward the goal. It was down and away which led Drake to make a full-body stretch ultimately blocking the ball with the fingertips of his right glove.
Inter Miami FC is playing at a very high level. They have scored 21 goals in the last six games and Lionel Messi has scored 9 of those goals.
Overall, Inter Miami won with superb play and world-class professionalism. They are now headed to the Leagues Cup Final to give Inter Miami a chance to win its first trophy in team history.
They will face Nashville SC at their home stadium on Saturday the 19th of August, 2023.
Catch the game on Apple TV MLS Season Pass with exclusive pre and post-game coverage and interviews.