Lionel Messi and Jordi Alba were among Inter Miami’s goalscorers as they advanced to Saturday’s final, where they will face Nashville SC in Tennessee.
In a mesmerizing League’s Cup semifinal clash, Inter Miami left a resounding mark as they won with an impressive 4-1 win against rivals Philadelphia Union. Meanwhile, Nashville secured their place in the final by defeating Monterrey 2-0 in the other semifinal, setting the stage for an eagerly anticipated showdown final this Saturday.
The match kicked off with a whirlwind start for Inter Miami, as Josef Martinez, Messi’s strike partner, found the back of the net within the opening three minutes of the match. Pouncing on a well-placed long ball, Martinez expertly fired a shot into the far corner, setting the tone for a dream beginning in what appeared to be one of Inter Miami’s toughest challenges based on stats since Messi’s arrival just a month ago.
Unlike prior games, neither Inter Miami co-owner David Beckham nor his wife Antonela were present at the stadium due to recent unrelated events involving an incident outside a Miami nightclub.
The absence of the power couple didn’t deter Messi and his Miami team, who were greeted with boos from the crowd upon entering the field. However, within just 20 minutes of play, Messi displayed his brilliance. Seizing an opportunity created by Martinez’s flicked pass, Lionel Messi confidently strode forward and capitalized on the space around him, unleashing a magnificent left-footed strike from 35 yards. The ball swerved and dipped beyond the reach of Union’s goalkeeper Andre Blake, nestling into the corner and stunning the boisterous crowd at Subaru Park into silence.
Before the halftime whistle, Inter Miami’s supremacy was further solidified as Jordi Alba contributed to a dazzling team move, scoring his first goal in Miami colors. Beating Blake with the finesse reminiscent of Messi or Martinez, Alba’s finish completed a first-half spectacle.
At halftime, Union coach Jim Curtin made his intentions clear, urging his team not to underestimate the talents of Messi, Alba, and Sergio Busquets. Making tactical changes, he introduced Jack McGlynn and Mikael Uhre to replace Leon Flach and Damion Lowe. Union’s counterattack yielded results, with Chris Donovan’s header nearly finding the net but being denied by an exceptional save from Miami’s goalie Drake Callendar. The 73rd minute saw Union narrow the margin through substitute Alejandro Bedoya, igniting hopes of a potential comeback.
However, Miami sealed their victory in the 84th minute when David Ruiz calmly slotted home a low finish, extinguishing any prospects of a Union resurgence. With their commanding win, Miami showcased their prowess and signaled their determination to secure the League’s Cup title as they will face Nashville on Tuesday night.