MATCH PREVIEW: Inter Miami CF to Kick Off 2021 Season at Home Against the LA Galaxy

Match Preview Graphic 4.18.21

Inter Miami CF will kick off its second MLS season with a matchup 13 months in the making against the LA Galaxy. The team will host its first match of the 2021 MLS season at the newly named DRV PNK Stadium in front of a limited capacity of fans this Sunday, April 18 at 3 p.m. ET. 

The match will be nationally televised on ABC and ESPN Deportes. Fans worldwide can follow live updates including video highlights and stats on the Club’s App. Download and Register your Profile here:

Inter Miami will launch its second campaign with a match against the LA Galaxy 13 months after its scheduled home debut against the team was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Last season, Inter Miami became just the seventh MLS franchise to make the MLS Cup Playoffs in its expansion season.  

“Ultimately, these are the best moments. This is why I took the job, this is why you get into football, for the big moments when you actually go out there and you are playing for the three points,” said Inter Miami CF head coach Phil Neville”. “You are playing to get up in the league, to start the season well, to test yourself against the best managers and best players. I think this week I sensed a different kind of mood around the facility… It was almost as if the dial just got dialed up a little bit. Everyone became more focused, everyone got a little bit more excited.” 

Neville’s First Match

The match will see Phil Neville helm Inter Miami for the first time in a competitive match. The former England Women’s National Team, Valencia CF, Manchester United and the England Men's Under-21s coach was named the team’s head coach in January. Neville also had a distinguished playing career of 20 years in the English Premier League.   

Launching DRV PNK Stadium

It will also serve as the first Inter Miami home match at DRV PNK Stadium since the Club and AutoNation entered a multi-layered three-year partnership. The match, which is sold out to a limited capacity, will be just the third in which Inter Miami fans will be permitted to attend at home. The Club has won the previous two games, defeating Orlando City 2-1 on Oct. 24, 2020, and FC Cincinnati 2-1 on Decision Day.

Potential Debuts

Ten players may be eligible to be selected for their Inter Miami debut in this match; Edison Azcona, Drake Callender, Dylan Castanheira, Gregore, Sami Guediri, Joevin Jones, Kelvin Leerdam, Josh Penn, Ryan Shawcross and Felipe Valencia have all yet to make their competitive debuts for the team.

Familiar Faces 

Neville will have the opportunity to coach against Javier “Chicharito” Hernández, who he both coached and played against in the past. Neville served as a first team coach for Manchester United while Chicharito played at the club, and also featured against him in two Premier League matches when Neville played for Everton FC and Chicharito played for Manchester United.

The matchup will also pit Mexican National Team teammates Rodolfo Pizarro, Chicharito Hernández, and Jonathan dos Santos against each other. Pizarro and Chicharito have featured together for El Tri on four occasions, sharing the pitch for 138 minutes. Pizarro and dos Santos, meanwhile, have shared the pitch on nine occasions with the team, compiling 410 minutes played together.  

Gonzalo Higuaín will also have an opportunity to face familiar foes in the match, as he has faced off against both Chicharito and Victor Vázquez at different points in his career. Higuaín and Chicharito competed in a 2010 FIFA World Cup Round of 16 match in which Higuaín’s Argentina earned a 3-1 victory; both players scored a goal in that match. They later faced each again in a Premier League match in 2019, when Higuaín’s Chelsea defeated Chicharito’s West Ham 2-0. Higuaín and Vázquez, meanwhile, faced off in a 2015 UEFA Europa League match in which Higuaín’s SSC Napoli earned a resounding 5-0 win over Vázquez’s Club Brugge.  

Inter Miami center back Ryan Shawcross has also featured against Chicharito, taking on the Mexican international 11 times over the course of their time in England, including 10 Premier League matches and one EFL Cup match. 

Blast From the Past for Beckham

This Sunday, co-owner and President of Soccer Operations David Beckham will see his team face his former club the LA Galaxy, who he played for across six seasons, in the matchup.