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Sporting KC v Inter Miami: Preview, Predictions & How to Watch

Miami are absolutely decimated with international call-ups and the door is open for Sporting KC to be the first to beat Miami since Messi arrived.

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Credit: Thad Bell

Sporting KC @ Inter Miami

When: Saturday, Sept 9, 2023 at 6:30 PM CT (6:39 kickoff)

Where: DRV PNK Stadium

How to Watch/Stream: Apple MLS Season Pass

Sporting Kansas City are refusing to go away in 2023. After a long Leagues Cup break, Sporting KC have reeled off two straight wins. First, a 3-0 domination over the San Jose Earthquakes followed by a deeply satisfying win in the first home meeting with new rivals St. Louis City SC. But those were both home games.

It’s time to hit the road and take on Inter Miami, who will almost surely be without new superstar signing Lionel Messi. There are still seven games to go, and the math looks better with every Kansas City win.

The road trip to Miami Fort Lauderdale will mark the first ever meeting between KC and Miami, despite it being Miami’s fourth season in Major League Soccer. It’s possible you’ve taken notice of Miami’s recent turnaround with the signing of the aforementioned Messi. They ran through the Leagues Cup to win the first month-long version of the competition; they’ve advanced to the US Open Cup Finals, and they are already off to a 2-0-1 start since MLS play returned.

On the surface, it seems like a terrible time for Kansas City to face Miami. Considering they’ve been a pretty abysmal franchise for most of their first three years of existence and were in last place before Messi arrived. Since he arrived, they haven’t lost. However, they appear to be decimated by international call-ups as MLS often plays right through FIFA International windows (more on that below).

Miami’s Recent Form

  • Aug. 19th @ Nashville – 0-0 Draw (10-9 PK win) [Leagues Cup Final]
  • Aug. 23rd @ FC Cincinnati – 3-3 Draw (5-4 PK win) [US Open Semifinal]
  • Aug. 26th @ Red Bull New York – 2-0 Win
  • Aug. 30th vs. Nashville – 0-0 Draw
  • Sept. 3rd @ LAFC – 3-1 Win

Counting all the Leagues Cup games, Miami haven’t lost in 10 matches. That said, a ton of players will be missing due to international duty. If you go back to pre-Messi arriving, Miami went 11 straight league games without a win (0-8-3).

What’s new for Miami?

There has been so much coverage of Miami since Messi arrived, I’d be stunned if you weren’t aware the team added Messi, along with former Barcelona teammates Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets. In addition, they spent big to add three U-22 players to the roster in Tomas Avila, Facundo Farias and Diego Gomez.

OUT: Who cares

IN: Messi

Injury/Availability Report

Sporting KC:

  • OUT – Gadi Kinda (Int. Duty – Israel), Marinos Tzionis (Int. Duty – Cyprus), Kayden Pierre (hamstring), Kortne Ford (Achilles)
  • QUESTIONABLE – Johnny Russell (ankle), Graham Zusi (hamstring), Stephen Afrifa (hamstring)

The only change is Marinos Tzionis heading overseas. Kinda was already listed as out the last two weeks with an ankle injury, which has actually led to a bit of a controversy. Apparently, Kinda can’t even make a full run, but Israel’s doctors wanted to look at Kinda so they called him up anyways. I’ll let Daniel Sperry explain further via a Peter Vermes quote:

Miami:

  • OUT** – Messi (Int. Duty – Argentina), Drake Callendar (Int. Duty – USA), Robert Taylor (Int. Duty – Finland), Josef Martinez (Int. Duty – Venezuela), Sergii Kryvtsov (Int. Duty – Ukraine), Benjamin Cremaschi (Int. Duty – USA), Edison Azcona (Int. Duty – Dominican Republic), Diego Gomez (Int. Duty – Paraguay), Davis Ruiz (Int. Duty – Honduras), Gregore (Lisfranc), Ian Fray (ACL), Franco Negri (ACL), Corentin Jean (ACL)
  • QUESTIONABLE – None

**There is talk that players like Messi, Callendar and others could be released to return in time to play on Saturday. It’s all pretty gray right now and I haven’t seen Miami’s official injury report due to the league by Wednesday.

Update 11:16 PM: Messi may not travel to the next game for Argentina. It seems unlikely that means he plays Saturday, but who knows.

Suspensions

Sporting KC: None

  • Suspended Next Yellow: None

Inter Miami: None

  • Suspended Next Yellow: Ian Fray, Robert Taylor, DeAndre Yedlin

Stats

Sporting KC

Goals: Alan Pulido (12), Daniel Salloi (6), Erik Thommy, Johnny Russell (4), Gadi Kinda, Dany Rosero (2), Willy Agada, Felipe Hernandez, Robert Castellanos, Khiry Shelton, Remi Walter (1)

Assists: Erik Thommy (9), Daniel Salloi (6), Gadi Kinda, Remi Walter (4), Tim Leibold, Alan Pulido, Johnny Russell, Nemanja Radoja (3), Jake Davis (2), Roger Espinoza, Marinos Tzionis, Graham Zusi, Andreu Fontas, Robert Voloder (1)

Miami

Goals: Josef Martinez (6), Leo Campana (5), Robert Taylor (2), fourteen with one (1)

Assists: Taylor (5), Benjamin Cremaschi, Jean Mota (4), DeAndre Yedlin (3), Campana, Messi (2), twelve with one (1)

Predictions

Look at that injury report. Sure, Sporting KC have a few guys banged up and a couple players away on international duty, but they have full rest heading into the week. Miami is the only team that was below the playoff line of the remaining nine games when league play restarted.

Sporting KC are 2-0 against teams above the playoff line, so they have to beat the lone team that was below the line, even if Miami are no longer the cellar dwellers that they were. Most of the players making them great are away, though Alba, Busquets and others are around. It’s not an open and shut game, but Kansas City should make it one.

There is very little margin for error and with every single game on the schedule after this being against opponents above the red line, KC cannot falter in Florida. They need at least five, but probably six or seven wins of these last nine. They already have two.

My concern is that Sporting KC are known to play down to their opponents. Hopefully they look at Miami as a juggernaut and not the depleted team they may be.

PREDICTION: 2-0 Sporting KC Win

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