Inter Miami’s hopes of qualifying for the MLS postseason were ended last time out and they now face a double-header against a Charlotte side who have hit form at just the right time and still harbour MLS play-off ambitions.

Football Bet of the Day – Wednesday 18th October, 2023

  • Charlotte to win @ 6/4

Charlotte to win @ 6/4

Even the arrival of a trio of former Barcelona superstars, Lionel Messi, Jordi Alba and Sergio Busquets, in the summer has proved insufficient to salvage anything from the wreckage of Inter Miami’s campaign and they head into the final two games of the MLS regular season with no chance of making the play-offs.

A 1-0 defeat to Cincinnati last time out ended their postseason ambitions and they will once again be without Messi and Alba for the first match of a double-header against a Charlotte side with plenty to play for.

The visitors are just a point off the final play-off positions in the MLS Eastern Conference and have a game in hand on all the teams above them. The best they can hope for is an eighth-place finish and qualification for the wild card round, but back-to-back victories over a beleaguered Inter Miami side would be enough to get them over the line.

The absence of Messi in particular is, unsurprisingly, a key factor that plays into Charlotte’s hands for this first clash. Since the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner joined the club in July, the Herons boast a record of 11 wins, one draw and one defeat in all competitions with Messi in the team. Without the Argentinian, who will captain his country for their World Cup qualifier in Peru the night before this fixture, that record drops to one win, two draws and four defeats.

Charlotte’s own star player may not draw the crowds in the same way as Messi does, but Karol Swiderski has proved instrumental in their recent resurgence and should be back from international duty in time to play at the DRV PNK Stadium. The Poland international has scored three goals in his last two games for The Crown and continued his fine form with a goal for Poland on Sunday.

Those goals helped Charlotte snap a five-game winless run in the MLS to claim back-to-back victories in the MLS for the first time since May, putting them back into play-off contention when all seemed lost. The 26-year-old has 12 MLS goals to his name this season and has scored in five of his last six starts for club and country, so he does hold some appeal at 6/4 in the anytime goalscorer market.

However, the better value lies in an away victory at the same price. Charlotte have it all to play for and Inter Miami, who have taken just one point from their last four games, have been dreadful without Messi in the team. The summer arrival has featured in just 15% of Inter Miami’s MLS games this season but they have claimed over 30% of their total points tally in those games. The hosts have taken just 23 points from 27 games without their star player and have lost 16 times. Back them to be beaten again on Wednesday night.

 

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