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LAFC at Inter Miami

Saturday, March 12, 2021

10:30 am PT

TV: Univision, TUDN, Twitter

RADIO: 710 AM ESPN, ESPN App (Audio), KFWB 980 AM

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LAFC heads to the Sunshine State to take on Inter Miami in a nationally televised match on Saturday morning. It is just the second match-up between the teams in their history, and the first visit to Miami ever for the Black & Gold. LAFC opened the 2020 season handing Miami a 1-0 defeat in their first-ever match at Banc of California Stadium behind a goal from Carlos Vela. 

After an injury scare in LAFC’s last match on Sunday vs. Portland in which he left at halftime due after feeling some discomfort in his knee, the 2019 MLS MVP was back in full training all week and is expected to play against Miami. 

“It was a good week of training,” LAFC head coach Steve Cherundolo said. “Carlos trained and will be with us in Miami. It was nothing serious, and he was back on the training field in a few days. The good news is he is recovered and has been doing well in training.”

That is good news for LAFC, who will be looking to Vela to help the team find the back of the net, after they threatened Portland for much of their previous match with numerous shots, but could not break through until the 93rd minute when Mamadou Fall directed the tying goal past the Timbers goalkeeper off a brilliant cross from Brian Rodriguez. 

“Our ideas in and around the box and creating more high quality chances last week against Portland were not great,” Cherundolo said. That is an aspect of the game we will improve on and was a focus of training this week.”

Miami is 0-1-1 this season, and coming off a 5-1 loss in Austin, where Austin FC was able to create chances and finish them. 

“There is some unknown there with how Miami will react,” Cherundolo said about the match. “We certainly expect a reaction after losing like they did last week. There will always be a reaction from an opponent, so we are prepared for that. We respect this opponent and we know they are at home so their expectations are high.”

Cherundolo insists that the fact that this match will kick off at 10:30 am on the West Coast to be played before a national television audience on Univision/TUDN will not be a factor. 

“They are coming off a big loss,” LAFC goalkeeper Maxime Crépeau said. “They will want to respond to that and they are at home. But it is our expectation to win anywhere. We have to approach this game to win and that is the mentality we are going in with.”

INTER MIAMI CF IN-DEPTH

Inter Miami is managed by former English National Team defender Phil Neville and boasts a lineup featuring European football legend Gonzalo Higuain as well as solid players such as DeAndre Yedlin. This is a team that has had a massive overhaul in 2022 after finishing 12-5-17 (W-T-L), bringing in almost a complete new squad of players, including forward Leonardo Campana, who scored Miami’s only goal so far this season.

LAFC WILL WIN IF

They can regain their offensive edge with Carlos Vela and Brian Rodríguez both continuing their active and engaging starts to 2022. LAFC is also dealing with injuries to the backline, with Francisco Escobar and Diego Palacios both listed as questionable for the match and potentially not being able to play. LAFC will need strong performances from some of their other defenders such as Ryan Hollingshead, Doneil Henry and Kim Moon-Hwan. The Black & Gold will look to play their football in Miami – keeping a high line and making sure they are organized with good offensive marking. If LAFC can return to the basics of the game and get quality passing in the offensive end paired with quality finishing – this could be a big road win for L.A.

INTER MIAMI CF CAN WIN IF

They rebound from a dismal showing in Austin with a renewed sense of energy and commitment. This team is dangerous with Higuain in the attack. He is capable of moments of magic that can turn a game on its head. If Miami straightens out their defensive issues from last week and gets Higuain and Ariel Lassiter in dangerous positions, they can pull off the victory.

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