Who would have ever thought that the Philadelphia Union would take on a Lionel Messi-led Inter Miami side in the Semifinals of any tournament? But here we were. Faced with the tall task of trying to beat the GOAT and his 2 Barcelona teammates, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba, for a chance to advance to the Leagues Cup Finals.
Here Comes Messi
Messi was introduced with loud boos raining over the stadium. That is exactly what you would expect from Philadelphia fans. The celebrations came for the Miami side early, though, when a pass found Josef Martinez, who buried a shot past Andre Blake four minutes into the game, giving Inter Miami the 1-0 lead. Philadelphia was starting to get comfortable and settling into the game when a Messi run and shot from way outside the box beat Andre Blake to the low right post.
Another unbelievable goal he adds to the resume of beauties in this tournament already. Miami held a 2-0 lead just 20 minutes into the game, and things would get worse from there. Inter would strike again in stoppage time and put the game out of reach when Messi’s Barcelona teammate Jordi Alba received a pass from Robbie Taylor and made it 3 to nothing with only 45 minutes of play.
On to the Second Half
To start the second half, Head Coach Jim Curtin made two subs, Urhe and Mcglynn, for Lowe and Flach. The hero from the last game got another great chance in minute 58 when Kai Wagner whipped in a cross that found Chris Donovan for a nice header on Goal, but an incredible save by the Miami keeper kept the game 3-0. The Union played much better soccer in the second half after a few adjustments by Curtin. After a few chances, the Union finally got on the board with a goal by captain and sub Alejandro Bedoya to cut the lead to 3-1 with 20 minutes to play.
Philadelphia continued to dominate the rest of the half but failed to put any more of their 16 total shots in the back of the net. Miami would take a 3-goal lead again before the end of the game. Giving Inter Miami the victory by a Final of 4-1. Ending Philadelphia’s aspirations of being Leagues Cup Champions and adding another big game loss to Jim Curtin’s record.
Messi had a relatively quiet night but still managed to score his Leagues Cup leading 9th goal in 7 games and add another assist to the stat sheet. The Goat advances to the Finals of the First League Cup, making it look easy all the way to the Finals. While the Union still has a lot to play for in the 3rd place game versus Monterrey on Sunday at home, where a spot in the CONCACAF Champions League next season will be on the line.
My name is Diego Bianchi born and raised in Philadelphia. I’m a sports analyst, writer, and show host covering Philadelphia sports for Edge of Philly Sports. I also am a credentialed media member covering the Philadelphia Union for EOP. My passion for sports started since forever ago. At least, it feels like that. Thanks to my amazing family. I love doing this every day. You can catch me every Monday night on the Sully Squad at 6 PM on Edge of Philly Sports.