It’s been a strong run of form for Inter Miami.
Seven games, seven wins and the 2023 Leagues Cup.
But, as we’ve mentioned before, the work isn’t over yet as the Herons travel to Ohio to take on FC Cincinnati in the semifinals of the U.S. Open Cup.
Let’s get into it.
FC Cincinnati Is Dominant at Home
While Inter Miami marched its way through Leagues Cup competition, the U.S. Open Cup was kind of overlooked.
Well, now it takes center stage as the Herons travel to Ohio for its second consecutive away match.
On that note, FC Cincinnati has been devastating at TQL Stadium, winning 11 of their 12 Major League Soccer regular season matches and drawing the other one.
Cincinnati wasn’t as fortunate in Leagues Cup play — getting knocked out in the knockout stage at home by Nashville back on August 4.
They did, however, win both of their group stage games at home… beating both Sporting Kansas City on penalties and Chivas, 3-1.
Their return to MLS regular season play was met on hard times as they fell 3-0 on the road to Columbus on Sunday.
Despite the loss, FC Cincinnati remains atop the MLS Power Rankings this week — Inter Miami, on the other hand, moved up four spots to 7th on the list.
Cincy stands seven points clear in the Supporters’ Shield race as a result of their strong run of form in the first 23 matches of the season.
Captain Luciano Acosta leads FC Cincinnati with 12 goals and eight assists in 23 matches to carry on his run of form from last season where he had 10 goals and 19 assists.
Defensively, FC Cincinnati is stout but not impenetrable.
In MLS play, they have nine clean sheets but have conceded 28 goals (an average of 1.2 per match) — which might be considered a bit high for a team leading the Eastern Conference standings.
What Inter Miami Needs To Do To Win
The Lionel Messi roadshow continues as he’s notched 10 goals and four assists in his seven games since joining Inter Miami.
Scoring and playing under pressure is no longer a significant issue for the Herons as they led the Leagues Cup competition with 22 goals in seven matches and defeated both FC Dallas and Nashville SC in penalty shoot-outs.
Inter Miami reached the semifinals of the U.S. Open Cup after defeating Miami FC, Charleston Battery, Nashville SC and Birmingham Legion FC.
But FC Cincinnati may be the toughest opponent yet for the Herons, at least on the road.
U.S. Open Cup
Inter Miami at FC Cincinnati
TQL Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio
7 p.m. ET Wednesday, August 23
How to Watch
Paramount+, Telemundo (on Peacock in Spanish)
FC Cincinnati Form (last 3)
Inter Miami Form (last 3)
While FC Cincinnati has a prolific goalscorer in Acosta, he’s about all they have in terms of an offensive threat. Inter Miami faced a similar task in shutting down Hany Mukhtar and Nashville SC in the Leagues Cup title match.
It’s the home environment for FC Cincinnati that worries me the most.
This team has played lights-out at home and that is something Inter Miami will have to contend with.
You have Inter Miami, fresh off a title and playing with arguably the best player in the world coming to a hostile environment like Cincinnati.
If you thought playing at Nashville was tough, this will be even worse.
Regardless of play on the field — and Inter Miami’s defense is going to have to step up yet again — it will be the home-field advantage the Herons will have to contend with the most.