There's a blockbuster MLS clash on the horizon this Sunday as reigning league champions Los Angeles FC host Lionel Messi's Inter Miami at the BMO Stadium.
After dominating the headlines for their unprecedented Leagues Cup triumph, Inter Miami is looking to make an improbable charge to secure an MLS playoff spot, albeit they are currently second-from-the-bottom in the East Conference with six wins, 14 losses, four ties and 10 points behind the final playoff spot. To make the playoffs, Messi and co must win most of their remaining ten games.
The visitors will head into this game cruising with confidence off the back of a 10-match unbeaten run in all competitions, but facing 2022 MLS Cup winners LAFC will be a perfect litmus test for Tata Martino's men.
Messi, for one, will be extra motivated to get on the scoresheet on Sunday after the Herons settled for a 0-0 draw against defensive-minded Nashville SC at home on Wednesday night, putting a stop to an incredible nine-game winning streak since the Argentine’s arrival. It was also the first time the little magician failed to register a goal or an assist in his 10 games with the club.
As for the hosts, they are currently sitting in second place in the Western Conference with 11 wins, seven losses, seven draws and 40 points with nine games left to play.
Seven points adrift of table-toppers St. Louis, LAFC is coming into this encounter off the back of a narrow 2-1 loss at Charlotte FC last Saturday. The Black & Gold will be aiming to return to winning ways this weekend, but that's easier said than done up against an in-form Inter Miami side containing ex-Barcelona superstars in Messi, Jordi Alba, and Sergio Busquets.
Here GOAL brings you everything you need to know about how to watch, including TV channel, streaming details and more.
Los Angeles FC vs Inter Miami kick-off time
|Date:||September 3, 2023|
|Kick-off time:||10:00 pm ET/ 7:00 pm PT|
The MLS match between Los Angeles FC and Inter Miami will be played at the BMO Stadium in Los Angeles, California, USA.
It will kick off at 10:00 pm Eastern Time (ET) or 7:00 pm Pacific Time (PT) on September 3, 2023.
How to watch Los Angeles FC vs Inter Miami online - TV channels & live streams
The game will be available to watch and stream worldwide on Apple TV, through the MLS Season Pass. Highlights of the game will be uploaded to the official MLS and Inter Miami YouTube channels, while the live updates can be followed on GOAL.
Team news & squads
Los Angeles FC team news
LAFC boss Steven Emil Cherundolo has no fresh injury concerns, with Diego Palacio and Diego Rosales still out, and Colombian defender Jesus Murillo remains questionable. Centre-back Mamadou Fall moved across the Atlantic on deadline day to join Barcelona Athletic on a loan-to-buy deal.
Despite the hiccup against Vancouver Whitecaps last time out, Cherundolo could name an unchanged XI this weekend with Stipe Biuk, Denis Bouanga, and captain Carlos Vela retaining their roles in the final third.
The attacking trident will aim to stretch the Miami backline, and should put in a more clinical performance here. Bouanga will be relied upon to deliver the goods in front of goal, having already scored 12 MLS goals this season, joint-third in MLS scoring charts.
Los Angeles FC possible XI: McCarthy; Duenas, Maldonado, Chiellini, Hollingshead; Acosta, Sanchez, Bogusz; Vela, Bouanga, Biuk
|Goalkeepers:||Crepeau, McCarthy, A. Romero, Jakupovic|
|Defenders:||Long, Chiellini, Maldonado, Leone, J. Romero, Dollenmayer, Palacios, Hollingshead, Avila, Rodriguez, Palencia, Gaines|
|Midfielders:||Acosta, Sanchez, Crisostomo, Moyado, Tillman, Duenas, Jaime, Bogusz, Malle, Batioja, Maia, Opoku|
|Forwards:||Gonzalez, Ordaz, Subah, Aguirre, Biuk, Vela, Torres, Olivera, Bouanga|
Inter Miami team news
Corentin Jean is expected to miss out with a knee injury, while Franco Negri and Ian Fray are suffering from ACL sprains, which means neither will be available for selection in the upcoming match. The same goes for Brazilian midfielder Gregore, who is still recovering from a foot injury.
Coach Tata Martino fielded his best XI against Nashville but that came up short on the day. After experimenting with a formation with three centre-backs, he looks to have settled on a 4-3-3 formation, and could pretty much pick the same XI that started the Nashville draw.
This means the attacking trio of Robert Taylor, Josef Martinez, and Lionel Messi will be kept in the starting XI, with Leonardo Campana once again left on the bench. Other star players such as Busquets and Alba will feature from the get-go. With 11 goals and three assists for the Herons since his arrival, Messi is in brilliant shape but has accumulated heaps of minutes since arriving stateside.
In fact, fatigue could become a factor for the Herons, who have traveled extensively recently. It will be intriguing to see just how fresh the visitors are for Sunday's crucial contest as tired legs could sway the balance of the tie in LAFC's favor.
Inter Miami possible XI: Callender; Yedlin, Allen, Miller, Alba; Ruiz, Busquets, Arroyo; Messi, Martinez, Taylor
|Goalkeepers:||Callender, Marsman, Dos Santos, Jensen|
|Defenders:||Miller, Kryvtsov, McVey, Sailor, Mabika, Hall, Alba, Allen, Yedlin, Neville, Boatwright|
|Midfielders:||Busquets, Arroyo, Ulloa, Ruiz, Gomez, Duke, Mota, Cremaschi, Sunderland, Farias, Pizarro, Lassiter, Azcona, LaCava|
|Forwards:||Martinez, Campana, Stefanelli, Borgelin, Messi, Taylor, Robinson|
|13/3/22||Inter Miami 0-2 Los Angeles FC||MLS|
|12/3/20||Los Angeles FC 1-0 Inter Miami||MLS|