For the record, I don’t want Inter Miami to lose for the rest of the season.
I want the Cinderella tale to be told of the Herons' awful start to the 2023 season ending with a successful push to the MLS Cup Playoffs.
But I’ve also recognized the fact that Inter Miami’s quest to win 20 straight matches after signing Lionel Messi might be next to impossible.
Well, they’ve proved me wrong so far.
Let’s get into it.
Up Next For Inter Miami: Rematch with Nashville SC
A few weeks ago, I said this was a match that Inter Miami could very well lose. If only because it is extremely difficult to beat a team three times in a row.
Inter Miami beat Nashville before the Leagues Cup and then again in the cup finals. Now, they are faced with a third showdown… this time at home.
But, unlike last time, Nashville SC is reeling a bit after a 4-0 blasting at the hands of… of all teams… Atlanta United.
Yes, the same Atlanta United team that took a supreme drubbing at the hands of Inter Miami in the Leagues Cup.
Atlanta dominated possession (51.3% to 48.7%), took seven more shots and held Nashville to just one shot on target… for the entire match.
The loss helped Atlanta leapfrog Nashville into sixth in the Eastern Conference.
It was clearly not the same team the Herons struggled with in the Leagues Cup finals.
Those numbers suggest Nashville’s team didn’t actually make the trip to the stadium last Saturday night.
MLS Regular Season
Nashville SC vs. Inter Miami
7:30 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 30
DRV PNK Stadium, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
How to Watch
MLS Season Pass on Apple TV
Nashville SC Form (last 3)
Inter Miami Form (last 3)
The question is: Which Nashville team will show up in Ft. Lauderdale?
Will it be the gritty, hard-charging side that gave Inter Miami fits in the Leagues Cup championship, or will it be the team that seemingly missed the bus on the way to play Atlanta?
The first 15 minutes of the match should answer that question.
If it’s the former, this could be a tough one for Inter Miami. Nashville could come out and look for some vengeance from the Leagues Cup. If it’s the latter, well, revenge may not really matter.
What Inter Miami Needs To Do To Win
Inter Miami manager Tata Martino seemed to answer the “will he, or won’t he” question during his news conference Tuesday… related to whether Messi will start or come off the bench against Nashville.
Messi came off the bench with in the 60th minute in Inter’s 2-0 win at New York Red Bulls over the weekend and pulled off a sublime pass and goal.
Not to take any of the tarnish off, but New York wasn’t exactly challenging for Inter Miami.
Against Nashville, there could be an offensive edge for the Herons as Nashville defender Walker Zimmerman is listed as questionable to play.
Regardless, Inter Miami needs to come out and be the aggressor against Nashville.
No matter which Nashville side steps off the bus, the Herons need to dictate the tempo and score first.
Defensively, the match against New York was a good showing, but it was New York Red Bulls — not an offensive juggernaut.
While Nashville isn’t burying the ball in the back of the net, they can score and they’ve been waiting for MLS Golden Boot winner Hany Mukhtar to wake up from his recent slumber.
Now, I know I labeled this a potential “trap” game for Inter. But, if they come out firing, they could put a weakened Nashville defense on the back heel.