- If Miami win their games-in-hand, they will now move up into an MLS playoff spot
- But Tata Martino’s men first have the US Open Cup final to focus on next week
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Inter Miami’s hopes of sneaking into the MLS playoff places this season went from faint to bright on Saturday after three of their main rivals suffered defeats.
DC United, Montreal and Charlotte FC all came unstuck in their latest league fixtures, meaning Miami now has sight of an unlikely late dash to the playoffs.
The New York Red Bulls first did them a favor in a pulsating 5-3 win over DC, a game which saw Wayne Rooney’s team throw away two leads at their Audi Field home.
Montreal, meanwhile, was thumped 4-1 away to Atlanta United, with Charlotte beaten 3-0 at Cincinnati.
And those losses have left Miami with a realistic chance of pulling themselves back into the playoff picture.
Lionel Messi and Inter Miami’s hopes of reaching the MLS playoffs were boosted on Saturday
Three of Miami’s main rivals, including Montreal (left), suffered defeats on Saturday night
DC United, who sit in the second playoff spot, came unstuck against the New York Red Bulls
Charlotte FC, another of Miami’s closest competitors, were well beaten by Cincinnati
As things stand, Lionel Messi and Co currently sit second from bottom in the Eastern Conference on 31 points, having played 28 games.
Montreal occupies the first playoff spot on 37 points, yet having played two games more than Miami.
The second playoff spot is occupied by DC, who are only on 36 points despite playing THREE more games than Miami.
The Red Bulls are just behind them on 34 points after their victory on Saturday, however Troy Lesesne’s team has also played 30 games.
That is the same for both Chicago Fire and New York City in 11th and 12th place, while Charlotte has just two points more than Miami having played 29 games.
Should Tata Martino’s men pull off what would be a shock victory at Orlando City on Sunday, they would move up into 10th place given they have already recorded more victories than the Red Bulls, Chicago and New York, two points behind DC with as many games-in-hand.
It means the door is open for Inter to make a late dash for this season’s MLS playoffs
Nevertheless, Miami’s hopes of doing so appear slim with star man Messi and Jordi Alba both ruled out of the game.
The two players both came off injured during Wednesday’s 4-0 win over Toronto and will be rested ahead of next week’s US Open Cup final.
Though even if they come unstuck in Orlando, Inter will still be eyeing a late turnaround in the playoff race after Saturday’s triple boost.