Inter Miami vs Charlotte FC predicted lineups – can Messi continue to shine in South Florida?

The Leagues Cup quarterfinals begin with a sizzling tie in South Florida on Friday night as Inter Miami face Charlotte FC at the DRV Pink Stadium. Lionel Messi has scored seven goals in four games as he hopes to help the Herons become the first MLS side to win the tournament. Charlotte FC rode their luck in Houston as they benefited from a goalkeeping error and an own goal to defeat the Dynamo in the Last 16.

Lionel Messi and Jordi Alba
Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports/Sipa USA – Photo by Icon sport

Inter Miami vs Charlotte FC predicted lineups and news

The home side are bidding to reach their second semifinal of the season having already progressed to the final four in the US Open Cup. For Charlotte this is unchartered territory, the first quarterfinal in their short history as professional football club. It has been a sold out summer down in South Florida since Messi arrived and the stars will likely be flocking to Fort Lauderdale again in what promises to be a cracking atmosphere. The bookies have Tata Martino’s side as heavy favourites despite defensive frailties that has seen them keep just one cleansheet so far. The game will be broadcast around the world via Apple TV+ with all eyes on the seven time Ballon D’Or winner.

Team news: Inter Miami

Lionel Messi’s former Barcelona teammate Jordi Alba and young Paraguayan midfielder Diego Gómez both made their first starts for the club in the 4-4 thriller versus Dallas. Alba produced two assists as he played the full ninety minutes.

The main area where changes could be made is in midfield with teenager Benjamin Cremaschi performing well off the bench and scoring against Dallas. He had previously started all three games and might get the nod ahead of Gómez. Another midfielder, Jean Mota, was pictured in team training for the first time following his knee ligament injury in April but the Brazilian is ineligible for this tournament.

Inter Miami predicted lineup: 4-3-3


Team news: Charlotte FC

Former Aston Villa and Burnley midfielder Ashley Westwood has quickly become the heartbeat of this side, acting as a deep-lying playmaker to build up from the back. However, new signing Brecht Dejaegere now wears the Number 10 shirt and got his first minutes for the franchise in the Last 16. Youngster Benjamin Bender has been impactful from the bench as the 22-year-old midfielder vies for a starting spot.

Ashley Westwood
Credit: Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports/Sipa USA – Photo by Icon sport

The North Carolinian outfit have missed the attacking prowess of Enzo Copetti who remains unavailable through injury. Ghanaian striker Patrick Agyemang now has six goals in his last seven games (including MLS Next Pro matches) having come off the bench to score against Houston – he will likely get some minutes on Friday. Left back Nathan Byrne is suspended having picked up his third yellow card of the competition while in Texas.

Charlotte FC predicted lineup: 4-1-4-1


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