Nashville SC host Inter Miami on Saturday (2:00 AM, UK time) in a battle between to expansion sides for the right to play in the first round of the 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs.
Nashville defied all expectations during their inaugural regular-season, finishing seventh in the Eastern Conference and conceding just 22 goals along the way — the lowest of any expansion side in MLS history.
Gary Smith has forged a well-drilled unit made up of seasoned MLS veterans, with just enough attacking flair to make them a threat heading into the playoffs.
Inter Miami, meanwhile, haven’t quite lived up to the lofty expectations set upon them at the start of the season — expectations put upon them thanks largely to being owned by David Beckham.
Indeed, the Herons only managed a 10th-placed finish in the East, scraping into the post-season with a 2-1 win over bottom side FC Cincinnati on Decision Day. That being said, Miami’s early-season struggles make their playoff qualification much more impressive while the likes of Gonzalo Higuain, Blaise Matuidi and Rodolfo Pizarro will always give them a chance of causing an upset.
So, which expansion team will make it into the first round of the playoffs? Read on for our preview, predictions, team news and live stream information.
Where to watch Nashville SC vs Inter Miami on TV:
- UK: Sky Sports Football & Free Sports TV
- US: ESPN 2
Where to live stream Nashville SC vs Inter Miami:
UK: Bet365* are streaming this match live for account holders. Those without a Bet365 account already who are interested in streaming Nashville SC vs Inter Miami live can take advantage of this service by following the simple steps below.
- Click on this link.
- ‘Join now’ and enter details.
- Log in and fund the new account.
- Pick the desired event from among the ‘live now’ or ‘schedule’ sections in Bet365’s ‘live streaming’ category.
*Geo restrictions apply, 18+ only, must have a funded account, BeGambleAware. All odds and offers within this article are accurate at the time of writing (10:45, 20/11/2020)
Nashville SC & Inter Miami’s previous line-ups:
- Nashville SC (vs Orlando City): Willis; Johnston, Zimmerman, Romney, Lovitz; Leal*, McCarty, Godoy, Muyl; Jones; Rios.
- Inter Miami (vs FC Cincinnati): McCarthy; DeLaGarza, Reyes*, Gonzalez Pirez, Ambrose; Trapp, Matuidi; Morgan, Pizarro, Agudelo; Higuain.
Randall Leal managed two goals and four assists in his final eight regular-season outings but is unlikely to return from international duty with Costa Rica, serving Smith’s attack a huge blow. Dom Badji and Abu Danladi are both injured.
Leandro Gonzalez Pirez and Gonzalo Higuain, along with his brother Federico Higuain, are absent according to the Miami Herald.
Andres Reyes is suspended after picking up a red card against FC Cincinnati while starting goalkeeper Luis Robles is out with a fractured arm. George Acosta and Denso Ulysse are both injured.
Player to watch:
Nashville SC: Only Columbus Crew (21) and Supporters’ Shield winners Philadelphia Union (20) have conceded fewer goals than Nashville (22) in MLS this season, a truly remarkable achievement for an expansion team. So much of the Tennessee side’s defensive solidity in 2020 has been thanks to United States international centre-back, Walker Zimmerman.
The 27-year-old was an eye-catching arrival from LAFC at the start of the season after earning a place in the 2019 Team of the Year and, this season, has fully repaid the faith shown in him by Nashville with a number of colossal performances. Zimmerman won the fifth-highest number of aerial duels (42) in MLS during the regular season and ranked fourth for clearances (65) en route to winning Defender of the Year. Furthermore, with three goals in 22 appearances, Zimmerman has proved himself a threat in the opposition box, too. He’ll be vital to Nashville’s chances at both ends of the pitch.
MLS 2020 recent form:
- Nashville SC: WLDWD
- Inter Miami: WLLWL
Scoreline prediction: Nashville 2-1 Inter Miami
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