Sporting Kansas City vs Inter Miami: Preview and Prediction

Sporting Kansas City will welcome Inter Miami as both sides aim to rise up their respective Conference standings.

Sporting Kansas City will welcome Inter Miami to the Arrowhead Stadium on Saturday as both sides aim to put behind them a spate of draws.

The home side, in particular, will be displeased by having blown a 3-0 lead to the Portland Timbers, while Inter Miami, too, had to settle for a 1-1 draw against New York City FC. The stalemates have aided neither side as they aim to rise to the top of their respective conferences.

Sporting Kansas City are currently seventh in the Western Conference, having picked up ten points from their opening seven games. Peter Vermes is a frustrated figure this season, having seen his side drop nine points from winning positions already this season.

While the home side have encountered challenges in maintaining leads this season, their offensive prowess has notably improved despite the absence of some seasoned players in their lineup. Remarkably, they have scored multiple goals in four consecutive domestic matches for the first time since August 2020.

Inter Miami, on the other hand have picked up 12 points from their opening eight games and go into the weekend in third spot in the Eastern Conference. However, they could drop as low as eighth should the teams around them win their games in hand.

The MLS Cup favourites have experienced a dip in form domestically, enduring a winless streak in three straight league fixtures following a promising start to the campaign. Their recent exit from the CONCACAF Champions Cup against Monterrey, where they suffered a 5-2 defeat on aggregate, has further compounded their woes.

The Herons have now faced consecutive losses in away contests across all competitions. Due to their involvement in the Champions Cup, Tata Martino has been forced to rotate his squad. But it appears to have done little to boost their fortunes as a whole this season.

Boasting a wealth of attacking talent, the Herons have excelled in finding the back of the net, leading the league with 16 goals scored. However, defensively, they have struggled, conceding a dozen goals. The backline continues to be their Achilles Heel.

Inter Miami have also shown themselves susceptible of giving away fouls that end up with the opposition having a go at goal. This could be something that Sporting Kansas City could try to take advantage of. The Hard Tackle takes a look at how both sides could line up for the game and their tactics.

Team News & Tactics

Sporting Kansas City

Sporting Kansas City will have to cope without the services of Khiry Shelton, who is currently recovering from ankle surgery. Johnny Russell, the team’s captain, remains sidelined due to a hamstring injury, while Logan Ndenbe continues his rehabilitation journey following a torn ACL suffered in 2023.

However, there’s a glimmer of hope on the injury front as Andreu Fontas, who was previously nursing a hamstring strain, could potentially make a comeback. In addition, Alan Pulido returned in the last game and should have more match fitness minutes under his belt.

Despite throwing away two points last time around, Peter Vermes is expected to retain the same XI as against Portland Timbers. Kansas are expected to form up in a 4-3-3 formation, with Tim Melia in goal. The backline of Jacoby Davis, Daniel Rosero, Robert Voloder, and Tim Leibold.

Nemanja Radoja should form the midfield pivot, with Remi Walter and Memo Rodríguez flanking him. Erik Thommy and Daniel Salloi should provide the width on the wings, with William Agada leading the line. Agada scored twice last time around and is expected to continue his hot streak against a poor Inter Miami defence.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Melia; Davis, Rosero, Voloder, Leibold; Walter, Radoja, Rodriguez; Thommy, Agada, Salloi

Sporting Kansas City vs Inter Miami: Preview and Prediction.

Inter Miami

In the recent CONCACAF Champions Cup encounter, Lionel Messi completed a full game, marking his first full appearance since mid-March. His minutes have been strategically managed, with his consecutive appearances limited since last month.

Meanwhile, Benjamin Cremaschi, who remained an unused substitute in the last match, is inching closer to a competitive return from his knee issue. Unfortunately, Serhiy Kryvtsov is currently nursing a sore hamstring and will miss out.

A 3-4-3 formation should help get the best out of Inter Miami’s offensive options. Drake Callender should start in goal behind the back three of Tomas Aviles, Nicolas Freire, and Franco Negri.

Marcelo Weigandt and Jordi Alba should provide the width, with David Ruiz and Sergio Busquets holding firm in the middle of the park. Top scorer Luis Suarez should lead the line, with Leonardo Afonso and Leonardo Campana offering the width.

Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Callender; Aviles, Freire, Negri; Weigandt, Ruiz, Busquets, Alba; Campana, Suarez, Afonso

Sporting Kansas City vs Inter Miami: Preview and Prediction.

Key Stats

  • This is the first MLS clash between the two sides at Arrowhead Stadium since 2008.
  • This is the first time that an MLS side from Miami will visit Kansas since the MLS playoffs in 2001 where the Miami Fusion were beaten 3-1 by the Kansas City Wizards.
  • Sporting Kansas City have scored two or more goals in four straight regular season matches for the first time since August 2020.
  • Sporting Kansas City have trailed for a total of 17 minutes this season, the fewest in MLS.
  • Inter Miami leads MLS in goals (16) and assists (25) this season.
  • Inter Miami have used 26 different players in MLS matches this season, the most in the league.

Player to Watch

Luis Suarez

Embed from Getty Images

The veteran Uruguayan striker is well past his best but remains a killer in front of the goal. He leads the MLS scoring charts this season and has often bailed out Inter Miami more than once.

Suarez is once again the go-to man for the visitors this weekend, especially if Lionel Messi will start off the bench. As long as he turns up, Inter Miami have a shot at picking up points at the Arrowhead Stadium.


Sporting Kansas City 2-1 Inter Miami

While Inter Miami have the big names, their fragile backline leaves them exposed. Sporting Kansas City have done well to find the back of the net this season and could find some joy against their opponents’ backline. The Hard Tackle predicts a close 2-1 win for the home side.

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