One game, one win. Lionel Messi’s Inter Miami began their MLS season back from the break the way they have been since the Argentine’s arrival.
Messi was on the bench against NY Red Bulls but he made a huge impact nonetheless, coming off the bench to score a beautifully constructed goal that would have brought tears to the eyes of Barcelona fans.
The 2-0 win lifted them off the bottom of the table and now the attention turns to their Leagues Cup final opponents, Nashville.
Nashville are 7th in the Eastern Conference table so every game for Inter Miami is a must-win if they are to stand a chance of sneaking into the playoffs.
Here’s the match preview, buildup, team news, and more as Lionel Messi tries to supercharge Inter Miami’s ascent up the table!
Inter Miami vs Nashville preview
Inter Miami come into this game on the back of a confident win over NY Red Bulls. The best thing for them to come out of that game was how good they looked even without Lionel Messi.
The team was leading 1-0 when the Argentine came on and boosted their winning prospects.
Everyone knows by now that a Messi-led Miami is arguably the toughest team to beat in the league already. However, if they are able to consistently turn on the music without their talisman, then a shock title could be on the cards this season.
Nashville’s campaign has sputtered on the other hand. They looked on top of the world when they were preparing to face Inter Miami in the Leagues Cup final.
However, after losing that one in gut-wrenching fashion at the 19th penalty kick in the shootout, their return to MLS was less than auspicious.
They were blown away by Atlanta United, losing 0-4 away from home in what was as comprehensive a loss that MLS will see this season. Playing the country’s in-form team is hardly the ideal follow-up for a team in the doldrums.
Inter Miami vs Nashville predicted lineup
Inter Miami team news
Gerardo “Tata” Martino finally rested Messi and Co on the MLS return as the Argentine and Sergio Busquets had played a game every three days prior to that.
However, don’t expect Messi to miss out on his home debut in the league, especially after staying on the bench against NY Red Bulls.
Diego Gomez scored in the last game so he might keep his place at the expense of Benjamin Cremaschi.
It would be interesting to see if Martino persists with the three-at-the-back formation he has gone with for the last two games. They scraped by Cincinnati but the display against NY Red Bulls was much improved.
Regardless of the formation, Messi, Busquets, and Alba should be expected to start.
Predicted Inter Miami XI: Callender, Yedlin, Miller, Kryvtsov, Alba, Arroyo, Busquets, Gomez, Messi, Martinez, Taylor
Nashville team news
Gonzalo Pineda might ring the changes after his side got dismantled by Atlanta United in their previous MLS game.
However, two players who are certainties to start are Sam Surridge and Hany Mukhtar in attack.
It wouldn’t be a surprise to see Pineda revert to the team that ran Miami close in the League Cup final, only losing on penalties. USMNT centre-back Walker Zimmerman will be a huge miss in defence. Fafa Picault will also miss this game due to the accumulation of cards.
Predicted Nashville XI: Willis, Lovitz, Maher, MacNaughton, Moore, Muyl, McCarty, Godoy, Shaffelburg, Surridge, Mukhtar
Inter Miami vs Nashville prediction
It would take a brave person to bet against Inter Miami in their current form. Cincinnati away from home was their statement win, taking down MLS’ best team at their own ground.
NY Red Bulls was a potential banana skin fixture, but they made light work of it with a routine 2-0 win.
Nashville are reeling from their 0-4 walloping by Atlanta United and league standings don’t count for a lot when momentum is completely in favour of one side. Right now, that team is Miami.
Expect Inter Miami’s home, DRV PNK Stadium to welcome their heroes to league action with a bang as Miami’s unbeaten run with Messi continues.
FootTheBall predicts Inter Miami 3-1 NY Red Bulls.