DC United vs Inter Miami: Preview and Prediction

Inter Miami will be eager to return to winning ways in the MLS when they take on DC United at the Audi Field on Saturday.

The 2024 MLS season continues this weekend with Matchday 4. The latest round of fixtures gets underway in Washington DC, where DC United will host a hurting Inter Miami after the Eastern Conference leaders lost their first league game of the campaign last weekend.

DC United would have hoped for a better start to the 2024 season. While the hosts are unbeaten after the first three rounds of fixtures, they have won only once (D2) while finding the back of the net just five times. They have not even been involved in the CONCACAF Champions Cup, meaning a slow start is inexplicable.

As for Inter Miami, they have shown their credentials to win their first MLS title this season. While the Herons suffered their first league defeat last weekend at home against CF Montreal, their high attacking ceiling should take them far in the campaign. And Gerardo Martino’s men returned to winning ways this week by beating Nashville SC to reach the CONCACAF Champions Cup quarter-finals.

The corresponding fixture last season saw DC United twice come from a goal down to hold Inter Miami to a 2-2 draw, with Nigel Robertha scoring the equaliser. The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter ahead of the latest meeting between the two sides.

Team News & Tactics

DC United

Troy Lesesne has several pressing injury concerns hampering his preparations ahead of his side’s latest fixture. Against Inter Miami on Saturday, the DC United manager will be bereft of the services of only five first-team players.

Lesesne is sweating over the fitness of Christian Benteke, with the veteran Belgian striker recovering from a hamstring injury. Mohanad Jeahze has a similar issue, with Tyler Miller (shoulder) and captain Steven Birnbaum (knee) also in the treatment room. Russell Canouse faces a race against time to determine his availability.

Miller’s absence means Alex Bono will take his spot between the sticks, with DC United lining up in a 4-3-3 formation in front of him against Inter Miami. The backline should feature Aaron Herrera, Lucas Bartlett, Christopher McVey, and Pedro Santos, who starts as a makeshift left-back.

As for the midfield unit, Matti Peltola will look to keep things tight in the middle of the park, with Mateusz Klich supporting him in the centre. Gabriel Pirani will often drop a bit deep to pull the strings, with Kristian Fletcher taking up the left-wing berth. Finally, Cristian Dajome will spearhead the DC United attack in Benteke’s absence, with Jacob Murrell completing the numbers.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Bono; Herrera, Bartlett, McVey, Santos; Klich, Peltola, Fletcher; Murrell, Dajome, Pirani

Inter Miami

Unlike his counterpart in the DC United dugout, Gerardo Martino has a new injury concern hampering his preparations ahead of his side’s latest fixture. The Inter Miami manager will be without six first-team players on Saturday.

Lionel Messi might be the most notable absentee, with the Inter Miami captain recovering from a leg injury. With games coming thick and fast, Martino might not risk his compatriot, meaning he will likely miss out. In addition, Ian Fray (knee), Franco Negri (knee), Benjamin Cremaschi (sports hernia), Facundo Farias (knee), and Robbie Robinson (match fitness) remain unavailable.

Drake Callender should take his spot between the sticks, with Inter Miami lining up in a 3-4-3 formation in front of him against DC United. Nicolas Freire, Serhiy Kryvtsov, and Noah Allen should form the central defensive unit. Menwhile, David Ruiz and Jordi Alba will likely start as the two wing-backs.

While Ruiz will station himself in the middle of the park alongside Sergio Busquets and Federico Redondo, Alba will bombard forward at every opportunity. Finally, Luis Suarez should lead the line for Inter Miami, with Robert Taylor and Leonardo Campana completing the numbers in the attack.

Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Callender; Freire, Kryvtsov, Allen; Ruiz, Busquets, Redondo, Alba; Campana, Suarez, Taylor

Key Stats

  • DC United and Inter Miami have faced each other seven times thus far, with the Black-and-Red having a superior head-to-head record with four wins (D2 L1).
  • The last three matches between DC United and Inter Miami have seen both teams scoring, with the corresponding fixture last season ending in a 2-2 draw.
  • DC United are unbeaten in five of their last six home matches, picking up three wins and two draws, with a 5-3 loss to New York Red Bulls on September 24 being the exception.
  • Inter Miami have failed to win their last five MLS away matches, losing three and claiming two draws since September’s 3-1 win at Los Angeles FC.

Player to Watch

Luis Suarez

Embed from Getty Images

With Lionel Messi uncertain to feature, the onus will be on Luis Suarez to deliver the goods in the final third on Saturday. The veteran striker has been excellent in the early days of his stint with Inter Miami, amassing four goals and five assists in only six games thus far for Inter Miami.

Those numbers are mind-boggling, despite his undeniable quality. The Uruguayan striker is clearly ending his career on a high and will be eager to continue his fine run of form. Expect him to step up in Messi’s absence, taking Inter Miami close to a crucial win.


DC United 1-1 Inter Miami

Lionel Messi’s absence will influence the proceedings, allowing DC United to play more freely and without abandon. But that will also open up the hosts’ defence, enabling Inter Miami to pounce, with Luis Suarez raising his hand and delivering the goods.

But Inter Miami’s soft underbelly will hurt the team again, with DC United finding a way past Drake Callender. Expect a keenly contested affair that might not have much to separate the two teams. The Hard Tackle predicts a 1-1 draw between DC United and Inter Miami.

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