Preview: Inter Miami CF (n)
When? July 8, 8.15 p.m. ET, 5.15 p.m. PT and 1.15 a.m. GMT
Where? ESPN Wide World of Sports, Walt Disney World in Baylake, FL
How can I catch the action? ESPN for residents of the United States, Sky Sports Football for those in the UK. You can also listen locally on 96.9 The Game and 810AM ACCION (ESP)
MLS IS BACK! Well, maybe. Maybe not. The shock news that FC Dallas have withdrawn from the Disney based tournament has cast fresh doubt on the viability of the tournament. For the moment at least, anyway MLS is set to return on July 8.
The first game of the tournament is our first ever match-up with Inter Miami CF. Head coach Diego Alonso looks to have an almost fully fit and available squad to choose from. The only notable absentee will be no. 1 overall 2020 MLS SuperDraft pick Robbie Robinson. The youngster has had to leave the MLS bubble for personal reasons, and league rules dictate he will not be allowed to return due to the on-going Covid-19 crisis.
Beckham's club has been active in the transfer market in recent weeks with former Lion Brek Shea joining on a free transfer, and Leandro Gonzalez Pirez returning to MLS from Tijuana. The former Atlanta United defender will be ineligible for selection during MLS Is Back. This owing to revised trade rules for the tournament, Shea is available, however. 20 year-old striker Julian Carranza will be hoping to get his first taste of MLS action in this tournament. The Argentine striker has recovered from injury, and so Alonso will be hoping to have him available for the opening game.
There are no known injury concerns for the Lions at this point. Confirmed rosters for this tournament are expected on Tuesday. Nani will be available after serving his two game suspension, and Dom Dwyer has managed to get his way back to full fitness.
Without a doubt it's the enigmatic Rudolfo Pizarro. The former Guadalajara playmaker is a CCL winner (alongside Alonso), and also has 25 caps for the Mexican national team. The attacker plays between the lines, and is an excellent ball carrier. He also possesses a keen eye for goal as his 13 goals from 45 games for Guadalajara testify. He is also the sole scorer in Miami's exceptionally brief MLS lifetime.
Miami only have 2 games under their belt, both road losses to LAFC and DC United. These two games were months ago, so who knows what we will see from Miami in this game? With this being the first head to head in this rivalry series, and without crowds, this game will certainly be an intriguing encounter.