Inter Miami travel to the west coast to face LA Galaxy, looking to make it two wins out of two games at the 2024 MLS campaign.

Inter Miami proved why they are MLS Cup favourites this year with a straightforward 2-0 win over Real Salt Lake on Wednesday to kick off their new MLS season, and they can build on that with another win here against the LA Galaxy.

Miami looked shaky at times at the back, but they kept a clean sheet and opened the new season in style in front of their supporters at Chase Stadium. The result also meant that they have bounced back from an unsuccessful pre-season tour, where they suffered defeats at the hands of Al-Nassr (6-0), Al-Hilal (4-3), and Vissel Kobe (4-3).

While Inter Miami already have played one league game, LA Galaxy will take the pitch for the first regular-season contest of 2024 come Sunday night. The hosts’ sluggish start to the 2023 regular season proved too difficult to overcome, as they won only one of their first ten games and missed the playoffs for the fifth time in seven domestic seasons.

The end of the season does not make for good reading either, as they were winless in their last six MLS games and won only one of their last six home games during the regular season. The 2024 campaign could be a deciding one for Greg Vanney, who led Toronto to the MLS Cup in 2017 but has not enjoyed much success in LA in his three years at the helm.

Team News & Tactics

Los Angeles Galaxy

The injury bug struck LA Galaxy last season, as they had a number of season-ending injuries. Martin Caceres and Gaston Brugman look to have recovered from their respective long-term injuries, while USMNT defender Jalen Neal has picked up an abdominal injury and could be out for at least six weeks.

Earlier this week, the hosts announced the acquisition of Joseph Paintsil from Jupiler Pro League club Genk. He is unlikely to make an appearance against Inter Miami because he has only recently joined the team.

Head coach Greg Vanney may continue to rely on Dejan Joveljic and Diego Fagundez up front for the time being. Club record-signing Gabriel Pec has yet to begin training with his new team and is not quite ready to feature.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): McCarthy; Yamane, Yoshida, Zavaleta, Aude; Brugman, Delgado, Puig; Perez, Joveljic, Fagundez

Inter Miami

Corentin Jean, Franco Negri, and Ian Fray are all long-term absentees for the Herons because of ACL injuries. Benjamin Cremaschi is out for 2-3 months with a hernia that he suffered at the end of January. Facundo Farias has a torn ACL and is out for the season.

Lionel Messi and Jordi Alba played the entire 90 minutes on Wednesday night, while Sergio Busquets and Luis Suarez were substituted right before extra time. Alba, Messi, and Suarez are all fit to start here, although Inter Miami head coach Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino noted after the game that Busquets was still recovering from a slight ankle injury sustained against Vissel Kobe a few weeks ago.

Drake Callender had an iffy game against RSL but still remains Miami’s starting shot-stopper, and he will be protected by the back-four of DeAndre Yedlin, Tomas Aviles, Serhiy Kryvtsov, and Alba, with centre-back Nicolas Freire, who is on loan from Liga MX side Pumas, still working up fitness to be able to take part in the team’s upcoming games.

David Ruiz will get his first start of the season alongside Busquets and Julian Gressel in the middle of the park. Although Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi did not score, they still made their presence felt up front against RSL, with both tallying one assist each. Robert Taylor scored the opening goal for Miami on matchday one and could keep his place on the left wing.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Callender; Yedlin, Aviles, Kryvstov, Alba; Gressel, Busquets, Ruiz; Messi, Suarez, Taylor

Key Stats

  • These two sides have met each other just once before. That game took place at the DRV PNK Stadium in Miami, with LA Galaxy running out 3-2 victors.
  • There have been over 2.5 goals scored in LA Galaxy’s last nine Major League Soccer games.
  • LA Galaxy have conceded at least two goals in their last nine Major League Soccer matches.
  • LA Galaxy have failed to win their last six Major League Soccer matches.
  • The hosts last five home games of last season all saw them fail to keep a clean sheet.

Player to Watch

Lionel Messi

Embed from Getty Images

A full season of Lionel Messi in MLS kicked off in style as the Argentine magician had a hand in both goals as Inter Miami recorded a 2-0 win over Real Salt Lake. The GOAT made an immediate impact for Inter Miami last year, but his best moments came in the Leagues Cup and US Open Cup.

There is no guarantee of success for Inter Miami in the MLS, but Messi is sure to produce some magic, and this could be the game where he lays down the marker with a couple of goal contributions.


LA Galaxy 1-2 Inter Miami

The outcome of this contest is very difficult to tell, given that it is the LA Galaxy’s season opener in front of their home crowd. They will look to deliver their best version, but there are still doubts over their fragile backline, and that could spell their downfall against a formidable and fluid Inter Miami attack this weekend.

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