Philadelphia Union 1-4 Inter Miami CF (August 16, 2023) Match Analysis

Six games, nine goals, one appearance in the final. Lionel Messi continued to amaze on Tuesday night at InterMiami CF4-1 victory of Philadelphia Union in the Leagues Cup semi-final at Subaru Park in Chester, Pennsylvania.

Messi goals in the first half, Josef Martinez And Jordi Alba gave the visiting team an insurmountable lead as Miami cruised to the inaugural League Cup final, winning each of their games since Argentina world Cup champion joined the club in July.

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Gerardo Martino’s team will face Nashville SC, a 2-0 winner on MX League club Monterrey in the late semi-final on Tuesday night. They will play the final Saturday night in Nashville.

Miami also clinched a spot in the 2024 Concacaf Champions Cup – a first in team history – by reaching the final.

“The team has reached the final of an international competition,” said Martino. “One of the objectives was to qualify for the Concacaf Champions Cup, now we have to prepare to try to win the championship if possible. We are motivated and confident, but we are also focused on doing everything to improve. We want to make this club very competitive.”

For opposing manager Jim Curtin it was more of a disappointment, with Union losing on penalties in last year’s MLS Cup final, going out in the Concacaf Champions League semi-finals 2023 this spring and losing in the 2021 MLS Eastern Conference Finals.

“It takes a complete team effort to stand a chance against a team like Miami,” Curtin said after the game. “The first 20-30 minutes they made too many mistakes, they punished us. It wasn’t us that first half, but they are very good.

“It’s hard to lose and concede four goals, this game hurts. It’s not normal to leave this pitch after conceding four.”

Lionel Messi celebrates with Josef Martinez and Jordi Alba after scoring a goal for Inter Miami.
Lionel Messi celebrates with Josef Martinez and Jordi Alba after scoring a goal for Inter Miami.

Like Miami has done throughout the League Cup, he scored early and never looked back. Martinez’s goal shortly after kick-off marked the fifth time he had scored in the first 15 minutes of a Coupe des Ligue game.

Messi then doubled Miami’s lead with the second-longest goal of his career, catching the Union keeper Andre Blake with a low-line drive from 31.8 yards for his ninth League Cup goal.

With Union, who haven’t lost a home game all season, looking to enter the locker room with two goals, Alba gave Miami their third. the old Barcelona the star snuck behind the defense and raced a ball deep from Robert Taylorthen shot calmly past Blake to make it 3-0.

“The impact that Leo, [Sergio Busquets]Jordi have had on the group, they transmit that confidence to the young players, and they have that commitment linked to the game,” Martino said.[Busquets] works a lot, especially to recover balls, it’s contagious for his teammates.

“The team has changed, today we have a more competitive list which creates difficulties for the coach to create a composition. The young players are growing little by little. It’s great for any team.”

Chris Donovan missed a great chance to have Philly on the board, then saw his header in goal saved by the Miami keeper Drake Callender at the start of the second half as the home side tried unsuccessfully to get back into the game.

Alexandre Bedoya managed to pull one back for the home side later in the second half, but replaced David Ruiz scored Miami’s fourth of the night to put an unlikely comeback out of reach for Curtin’s team.

Since Messi’s arrival in Miami, the team has scored 21 goals in six games, scoring four goals in four of those games. Before he got there, he had only managed 22 in 22 MLS matches.

“The crowd was amazing, the atmosphere was great. Was there a lot of pink? Sure,” Curtin said. “It’s gonna be like that anywhere [Messi] go. He is global, the best to ever play our sport. And he is humble. Producing like he does over and over again when he doesn’t have to…he’s a winner.

“He will go to the final now, it hurts that we are not the only ones going there.”

Information from Reuters was used in this story.

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