Inter Miami begin their second season in Major League Soccer with a highly anticipated home tie against the LA Galaxy on Sunday at 8pm (UK time).
After disappointing 2020 campaigns, both sides will be keen to get the new season off to a good start this weekend.
How to live stream Inter Miami vs LA Galaxy online:
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Where to watch Inter Miami vs LA Galaxy on TV:
- UK: Sky Sports Football
- US: ESPN3, ESPN Deportes & ABC
Scoreline prediction: Inter Miami 2-1 LA Galaxy
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Inter Miami vs LA Galaxy build-up, previous line-ups & injury news:
Despite entering the league to much fanfare, Miami’s first year in MLS was something of a crash. Sure, The Herons managed to qualify for the Playoffs, but only by finishing 10th and the league allowing more Eastern Conference teams into the post-season, while they were knocked out in the preliminary round by expansion side, Nashville SC. Since then, Miami have been hard at work trying to put things right. Diego Alonso has been replaced in the dugout by Phil Neville, while MLS stalwarts Kelvin Leerdam and Joevin Jones have joined from the Seattle Sounders. Englishmen Ryan Shawcross and Kieran Gibbs should offer experience and leadership (the latter joining up in June), while exciting Brazilian midfielder Gregore has arrived from Bahia.
Miami begin their 2021 campaign against LA Galaxy, a club that played an incredibly important role in the Florida side’s existence. Upon signing for the Galaxy back in 2007, David Beckham was given an option on owning an MLS franchise of his own following his retirement. That franchise, of course, is Inter Miami.
Like his own club, Beckham’s former side are looking for a vast improvement on their 2020 campaign with the Galaxy finishing way down in 10th place in the Western Conference, missing out on the Playoffs for the third time in four years and lacking any sort of identity. Quite the fall from grace for MLS’s most successful team. Guillermo Barros Schelotto has been replaced as manager by Greg Vanney, who enjoyed great success during his time with Toronto FC, winning MLS Cup, Supporters’ Shield and Canadian Championship titles. Vanney also won the Supporters’ Shield, US Open Cup and CONCACAF Champions Cup with the Galaxy during his playing days. The five-time MLS Cup champions have brought in the likes of Kevin Cabral, Samuel Grandsir and Victor Vazquez to bolster their playing squad.
- Inter Miami (vs Nashville SC): McCarthy; Powell, Figal, DeLaGarza; Nealis, Trapp, Matuidi, Ambrose; Morgan, Pizarro; Agudelo.
- LA Galaxy (vs Vancouver Whitecaps): Bingham; Araujo, G. Gonzalez, Steres, Insua; Kitchen, Corona; Y. Gonzalez, Alvarez, Pavon*; Zubak.
Inter Miami have been busy strengthening their squad over the off-season and should look very different to the side that crashed out of the 2020 Playoffs against Nashville. The likes of Mikey Ambrose and Juan Agudelo have left, while Argentine youngster Matias Pellegrini has had to join affiliate club Fort Lauderdale CF to avoid Miami breaching roster requirements.
Equally, the Galaxy have been busy in the transfer market, replacing key departures such as Jesus Corona and Cristian Pavon. Javier Hernandez should return to the starting line-up after missing the end of last season through injury.
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Players to watch:
While he undoubtedly looked accomplished with the ball at his feet upon signing for Inter Miami halfway through last season, Gonzalo Higuain will absolutely be expected to add more goals for the club. The 75-time Argentina international managed just one strike from nine appearances following his arrival from Juventus in September 2020, while Miami have failed to score more than two goals in a single MLS game since.
The likes of Rodolfo Pizarro and Lewis Morgan will act as a brilliant supporting cast, threading through balls behind the opposition defence and whipping crosses into the box. Higuain needs to feed off this kind of service to prove exactly why he’s the highest-paid player in MLS.
“What we’ve said to him is when them balls are coming into the box, when those chances are being created, he needs to be in that area,” Neville said of Higuain. “He’s a vital player for us. Over the last 10 days, I’ve seen a player who is a real leader within this group, he’s a real big influence within this group. I think he’s excited and I’m excited about how far and well he can do this season.”
Like Miami, the Galaxy have a struggling legendary striker of their own in Javier Hernandez. The 109-time El Tri international was supposed to help connect the Galaxy to the Los Angeles Mexican community in a similar fashion to Carlos Vela for crosstown rivals LAFC. Instead, Chicharito missed 14 games through injury and scored just two goals all season.
“I’m not a robot, I’m not perfect,” Hernandez said of his 2020 struggles recently. “It is a difficult topic to talk about, which I hope can be normalized, no matter who you are or how much money you have — it doesn’t matter, we’re all humans.”
But on Wednesday ahead of the new campaign, he revealed just how fired up he is to set the record straight.
“I don’t have a word to tell you how motivated I am,” he said. “I’m very, very motivated, I think you all can see that in my social media, in my interviews, in the way I’m trying to improve myself in every aspect of my life. I’m very, very excited, very motivated and hopefully, I can give my best and I can be my best version every single game so I can help my teammates and the coaching staff to do my part so we can win games, that’s the most important thing.”
The Galaxy’s chances of success this season are incredibly dependant on whether or not Chicharito can rediscover his golden touch.
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