The 2023 Leagues Cup is the third-ever edition of the competition. The last two winners from this competition came from Liga MX, so the winner of this showdown will be the first-ever MLS team to win the Leagues Cup. It will be a Nashville SC vs Inter Miami CF final, which will take place on Saturday night.
Nashville SC vs Inter Miami CF Predictions on Saturday
Nashville SC (4-0-1)
Note: Two of Nashville SC’s four wins came from penalty shootouts.
Nashville SC is in its first-ever final of any competition. This is what Nashville SC head coach, Mike Jacobs said (source: Charles Boehm of MLS) said about the win over C.F. Monterrey.
“It was really validating and affirming to see all the hard work from so many people, whether they were under the lights of GEODIS Park or they were in the background, to kind of see this whole thing kind of come to fruition,” he said, before crediting the psychological makeup of NSC’s collective-oriented squad.”
Nashville had to get through two penalty shootouts in the Round of 32 against FC Cincinnati and the Round of 16 against Club America. They then beat Minnesota United FC 5-0 before the above mentioned game where Nashville defeated C.F. Monterrey 2-0. Monterrey is third in Liga MX, so getting a win against them will boost confidence for the team with two second-half goals from Sam Surridge and Fafa Picault. Nashville is also playing well in MLS play as they are in fourth place in the Eastern Conference right now. Nashville is a club that historically can surprise teams, like when they eliminated Toronto FC from the 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs.
Inter Miami CF (5-0-0)
Note: One of the games won happened because of a penalty shootout.
The game on Saturday could be a defining moment, not just for Miami, but also for Lionel Messi’s impact on Miami. The team that is currently last in the league in MLS play has really taken their play to another level in the Leagues Cup. What is more remarkable is that they are the only team in the Leagues Cup to have not lost a game yet in the competition.
— Inter Miami CF (@InterMiamiCF) August 16, 2023
In the knockout stage, they first beat Orlando City SC, but had trouble getting past FC Dallas, but got past them as Messi had two goals in that game in a penalty shootout win. They would then easily dispatch both Charlotte FC and the Philadelphia Union en route to their first-ever finals appearance in club history. Also, the players on the team have changed since players like Messi, Sergio Busquets, and Jordi Alba joined the team. This is what David Ruiz, who scored the last goal in their 4-1 over the Philadelphia Union, said (source: Robin Bairner of the Football Transfers):
“We’re like, young and stuff, we try to run everywhere. That’s something that they just told us: ‘Oh, just maintain more your position, that the ball’s going to get to you. Stop running for the ball too much where you’re just trapping yourself’ – things like that.”
Sports wise, Miami has seen two of their teams, the Florida Panthers and the Miami Heat, make the finals, but not win a trophy. This is the third time a sports team from the city from Florida will look to win silverware, and if so, would be the first-ever one for Inter Miami CF.
Head-to-Head and Injuries for Both Teams
Both teams have met each other eight times, with Nashville having the upper hand with four wins in total. Miami meanwhile only has two wins, but one of them came in the U.S. Open Cup competition this year. This game will be different though as this is the first game between the two sides since Messi joined Miami.
As for injuries, Miami is missing four players. Gregore and Jean Mota are injured and are expected to come back later this year as Gregore is recovering ankle injury and Mota from a ligament injury. However, the other two injuries are more serious as Corentin Jean is out with a knee injury until February 2024 and a similar time frame for Franco Negre, who currently has a curciate ligament injury.
This is while Nashville SC has one injury as Nick Depuy is injured with a calf injury and is likely out until late October 2023. Unfortunately, for Nashville, they lost two players due to yellow card accumulation in the match against Monterrey so they will not have Picault and Taylor Washington.
Nashville SC 1 – Inter Miami CF 1 (Miami wins in a penalty shootout)
With Messi involved, it will be hard for Nashville to find a way to win the Leagues Cup. Either team can win it though, and Nashville should push Miami to the limit as seen with how Nashville won against Monterrey. There is a lot on the line for both clubs as they look to earn their first-ever won silverware and become the first-ever MLS team to win the Leagues Cup on Saturday. The game kicks off at 9:00 p.m. ET at GEODIS Park in Nashville, Tennessee.
The game will be shown live in the U.S. on TUDN.com, Univision Now, TUDN App, ViX, TUDN USA, and Univision. It will also be shown live on the streaming platform Apple TV, available via the streaming service, MLS Season Pass.
Photo Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports, of a David Luiz Headshot and a Lionel Messi Headshot, on August 15, 2023.
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