Both Inter Miami CF and New York City FC look to pick up their first victory of the season and extend their stay in the MLS Is Back Tournament when they face off on Monday, July 20.
And while a draw would see both these teams register a point for the regular season, it would efficiently eliminate both teams from the tournament.
New York City FC
After finishing first in the Eastern Conference last season and being the third-highest scoring side in the MLS, New York City FC (0-4-0) has been struggling to get the momentum going this season.
New York City FC lost to Columbus and Toronto before the season was halted due to coronavirus and faced defeat to Philadelphia and Orlando City in the tournament. They have only scored one goal and that was in their last match against Orlando City.
Maximiliano Morales is their key player in the midfield and was named to the MLS Best XI last year after leading the league in assists.
Inter Miami (Not) Closing Games
Inter Miami (0-4-0) was leading most of the second half in their first game against Orlando City but two late heartbreaking goals that left them with no points. In their second match, they looked like the more likely team to score against the Union before a counter-attack unraveled their chances of claiming any points.
If they go up in this one, I don’t expect them to let their foot off the pedal as they know goal difference will be a factor with the other third-place teams if they want to advance.
Prediction: Inter Miami 2 New York City FC 0
Inter Miami has been playing better a better brand of soccer ever since the first thirty minutes of the Orlando City match. I expect them to score one of their goals from a set-piece as Lewis Morgan’s been able to consistently put the ball in dangerous areas and Rodolfo Pizarro to step up and get another goal.
The early morning match at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando will air on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and TSN at 9 a.m. ET.
The Advancement Scenarios
For Inter Miami to advance, they’ll need to beat New York and have two third-place teams with 3 points and more of a goal difference than them or just two points.
Here’s a way that it could happen in each of the other groups:
Group B: If Vancouver (0 points) and Seattle (1 point) tie tonight at 10:30, Seattle will have two points through three games and Vancouver will have one point after two games played. A draw in this one and Vancouver draw or loss in their final game of the group stage would mean that the third-place team in this group will have just two points.
Group C: Third Place, D.C United (2 points) take on fourth place Montreal Impact (0 points) on July 21 at 10:30. A draw would see D.C finish third with a goal difference of zero. An Impact win would give them third place but will still have low odds as they head into the contest with a -2 goal difference.
Group D: If Sporting Kansas City (3 points) and Colorado (0 points) lose their final game, Kansas City will finish third with 3 points. Their goal difference is 0 heading into the final round of matches.
Group E: If FC Cincinnati (3 points) and Atlanta United (0 points) both lose, Cincinnati will finish third in the group with three points and have a -3 goal difference. If Atlanta United wins and FC Cincinnati loses, it would Atlanta United in third with three points and they currently have the same -2 goal difference before the last set of matches.
Group F: An LA Galaxy (0 points) and Houston Dynamo (1 point) draw on the final day of the group stage would ensure that this group’s third-place team has two points. An LA Galaxy win would put them in third place with three points but their goal difference is currently at -5 so it’s unlikely that they’ll advance to the knockout stage.