Inter Miami CF claimed a decisive 1-4 victory over the Philadelphia Union on Tuesday night, securing its place in the first Leagues Cup final, clinching a 2024 Concacaf Champions Cup berth, and giving the team its first chance at a trophy this Saturday. The team was guided to a Club record sixth consecutive win by goals from Jordi Alba, Josef Martínez, Lionel Messi and David Ruiz on the night, and will now face Nashville SC on the road in the final on Saturday.
Inter Miami opened the match with an unchanged starting XI from its quarterfinal win over Charlotte FC. Drake Callender started in goal; DeAndre Yedlin, Sergii Kryvtsov, Kamal Miller and Jordi Alba formed the back four; Sergio Busquets, Dixon Arroyo, and Benjamin Cremaschi started in midfield; Lionel Messi and Robert Taylor started on the wings alongside striker Josef Martínez.
Just three minutes into the match, Martínez fired Inter Miami into the lead at Subaru Park. Kryvtsov stepped up in possession and played a ball over the top behind the defense to Martínez. The Venezuelan forward ran onto the pass in the box and opened the scoring with a low strike past Andre Blake to make it 0-1. The goal was Martínez’s ninth this season, and third in the tournament, while the assist was Kryvtsov’s first for the Club.
Messi added a goal of his own in the 20th minute. Martinez received a pass, turned and passed to Messi in space. The Argentine drove at the defense and struck a powerful low shot from very long range that beat the defense, beat the goalkeeper, and found the inside of the far post to extend the lead to 0-2. The goal extended Messi’s streak to six consecutive matches with a goal, at least one in every match he’s played for Inter Miami, and brought his tally up to a Leagues Cup leading nine goals in the tournament. The assist, meanwhile, was Martínez’s third of the campaign.
Just before halftime, Inter Miami extended its lead, netting its third goal of the night. Taylor calmly dribbled through defenders towards midfield, then played a through ball down the left wing for Alba behind the defense. The Spanish left back continued his run into the box and fired across goal and into the back of the net to score his first Inter Miami goal. Taylor’s assist continued his productive Leagues Cup, marking his ninth goal contribution in the tournament.
Philadelphia pulled one back in the second half when a corner was deflected back to Alejandro Bedoya, and the American snapped a clever finish at the near post to make it 1-3.
Inter Miami then responded with a final goal of its own. Messi played a ball for Yedlin down the right wing, and the defender played a perfectly weighted ball into the box for second-half substitute Ruiz, and the Homegrown midfielder slid his shot across goal to make it 1-4 and seal the victory. The goal was Ruiz’s second for the First Team, while Yedlin’s assist was his fifth of 2023.
The win was a historic one for Inter Miami, extending the longest win streak in Club history, qualifying for the first final in team history, and clinching a spot in the continental competition the Concacaf Champions Cup for the first time.
“Our goal was to qualify for international competition next season and we’ve done that tonight,” said head coach Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino. “This most important thing was achieving qualification for Concacaf Champions Cup, and now we have to prepare to win this tournament, which has us feeling very motivated and confident.”
Inter Miami will now head into Saturday’s Leagues Cup final with a chance to secure the first piece of official silverware for the First Team. The team will face Nashville SC on the road in the final on Saturday.
PHI - 46.8%
MIA - 53.2%
PHI - 16
MIA - 5
PHI - 10
MIA - 11
PHI - 8
MIA - 0
PHI - 15
MIA - 4