By Siobhan Nolan, Contributing Writer
The Philadelphia Union will be hoping to collect their first win in Week 2 of the 2021 MLS season in their home opener, where they will welcome Inter Miami CF to Subaru Park. Here’s what we can expect for Saturday’s match.
The Union are coming off of a 0-0 tie with Columbus Crew in Week 1, a game that didn’t see a bad performance per se, but one that definitely was not reflective of how lethal this Union offense can be. This somewhat lethargic performance has been attributed to the fact that the Union are simultaneously participating in the CONCACAF Champions League, where they defeated Costa Rican side Deportivo Saprissa on a 5-0 aggregate, advancing them to the quarterfinal of the competition.
Inter Miami, however, suffered a less-than-ideal start to their season last week. They lost to the LA Galaxy in a narrow 3-2 game. Despite this loss, Union manager Jim Curtin is not daring to underestimate the team. Although the Union beat Miami twice last season, Curtin acknowledged that Miami dominated for long stretches, and described the new club as a “sleeping giant.”
So what can we expect from this matchup? The Union are at a major advantage playing at home, having won nine of their last ten home league matches. This is also aided by the fact that Miami have lost four games in a row while on the road, and that despite the excitement surrounding the inception of the club in 2018, the team still has yet to make a major splash in MLS. The odds definitely favor the Boys in Blue for this matchup, and will most likely see the home team collect three points.
Possible Staring XI: Blake, Mbaizo, Glesnes, Elliott, Wagner, Bedoya, Martinez, Flach, Monteiro, Santos, Przybylko
- It’s unlikely that Curtin will make any major changes to the lineup he’s been using for the past three games. The only thing that might be different against Miami is swapping Anthony Fontana for Sergio Santos, who came on for Fontana as a substitute against Columbus. This switch would be in line with Curtin’s recent statements that the Union’s current young talents (Fontana is 21, while three 17-year-olds appeared on the bench in the Columbus game) aren’t ready for the big games yet. That’s not to say that they aren’t capable of starting and playing well, but Curtin will definitely want to have a little more insurance in terms of points and standings before resting his tried-and-true starting lineup in favor of starting more inexperienced players.
Score Prediction: The Union have been in great form lately, and not having to play any CCL games in the past week will have allowed them to focus completely on the Miami game, along with getting some much-needed rest and recuperation. Coupled with having home field advantage, the Union shouldn’t have much trouble getting in the win column this weekend—I’m going with a score of 3-1.