Nashville SC-Inter Miami CF Preview
Inter Miami CF head coach Phil Neville labeled the next home game against Nashville SC as a "cup final" as he looks for his side to bounce back from a crushing blow last match.
The hosts are still hopeful of a playoff spot, courtesy of seven wins in their last nine before the crushing 4-0 defeat by New York Red Bulls abruptly ended a club-record six-game unbeaten run.
Neville's side sit three points back from the playoff spots in the Eastern Conference and the head coach is desperate for a reaction against Nashville.
"It's a real big opportunity to really be tested and again it's another cup final, we want to bounce back," Neville said on Monday.
"When you've not had that feeling of defeat it hurts a lot, it took us 48 hours to get that out of our system and ultimately today I've seen the eye of the tiger back in the again.
"It's a game that if we win it'll take us back up to the place where we want to be, hopefully we've just had a blip and a bump in the road.
"We can go, we know we have to go in fact, on another run like we have done the previous 10 games."
Nashville sit second in Eastern Conference, 15 points behind leaders New England Revolution but only six points in front of seventh-place Philadelphia Union.
The visitors suffered a humiliating loss last game too, going down 2-1 to Toronto FC, who are rock bottom of the division, and head coach Gary Smith is expecting another tough test in Miami.
"I think it's easy to forget just how difficult it is to go to anyone's home field in this league in whatever the scenario is," Smith said.
"They're a very, very well-drilled group, they're a very capable group and they're a very dangerous group that if given the opportunity can make any team look absolutely stupid."
Inter Miami CF - Rodolfo Pizarro
Rodolfo Pizarro has been key to Miami's resurgence in form. Out of his modest three goals and two assists on the season, all but one assist came during the month of August as Neville's men embarked on their impressive run.
Nashville SC - CJ Sapong
CJ Sapong has scored eight goals in his last 11 starts and is chasing his career-high 16 goals in a single season from his 2017 season with Philadelphia Union. The forward has 10 goals this season for Nashville.
- This will be the sixth meeting between Inter Miami and Nashville, despite both sides joining MLS just last season. Miami earned its first win, and scored its first goals, against Nashville on August 8 in a 2-1 home win. Nashville had gone unbeaten in the first four meetings (W2 D2, including playoffs), holding Miami scoreless in those contests.
- Inter Miami's club-record six-match unbeaten run (W5 D1) ended with a 4-0 loss to the Red Bulls on Friday. It was only Miami's second defeat in 12 matches (W7 D3) following a six-match losing streak from late May to late July.
- Nashville's 2-1 defeat in Toronto on Saturday was just its third loss of the season and its first since a 2-1 defeat at Miami on August 8. Nashville hasn't lost consecutive matches since August 2020 in its fifth and sixth all-time MLS matches.
- Inter Miami was outshot, 27-2, in its 4-0 loss to the Red Bulls on Friday night. The 27 shots faced were the most Miami has ever faced in an MLS match and the two shots attempted were the fewest.
- CJ Sapong scored his 10th goal of the season in Nashville's loss to Toronto on Saturday, the third different team he's scored 10 goals in a season for (Chicago, Philadelphia). Sapong is one of two active players, along with Ola Kamara (Galaxy, Columbus, D.C.), to record at least one 10-goal season with three different teams.
Updated September 21, 2021