Inter Miami aim to continue hot start, visit New York City FC

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Inter Miami are off to the best start in their short history and feeling good about some early results.

Now the fourth-year franchise puts its 2-0-0 record on the line Saturday night when it visits New York City Football Club at Yankee Stadium.

After starting 0-4-1 last year, Inter Miami went 14-10-5 the rest of the way to qualify for its first playoff berth. The playoff appearance resulted in a 3-0 loss at Citi Field to NYCFC — then the defending MLS Cup champions — when it was locked in a scoreless match for the first 62 minutes before allowing two of the three goals six minutes apart.

Inter Miami then added Josef Martinez, and while the 2018 Golden Boot winner has yet to score, Miami owns a pair of 2-0 home victories over Montreal and Philadelphia and heads into Saturday 6-1-0 over its past seven regular-season matches. Last week, Corentin Jean scored in the 32nd minute and Robert Taylor struck in the 77th.

“There is a big feel-good factor around the facility, it is the confidence we get from beating the two best teams from the conference last season,” Inter Miami coach Phil Neville said. “Now we have to face the third-best team from last year away from home.”

NYCFC (0-1-1, 1 point) is hoping to avoid going winless in its first three games for the third time in team history. NYCFC went winless in its first six games of the 2019 season and the first four of 2020.

NYCFC, which was 7-1-2 in 10 matches in the Bronx last season, opened the season with a 2-0 loss at Nashville and then settled for a 1-1 tie at Chicago last week. Against the Fire, Gabriel Pereira scored in the 39th minute and the lead held until new goalkeeper Luis Barraza allowed a deflection goal to Fabian Herbers in the 75th.

“We’re really hungry to put a performance in for 90 minutes. It was a slow start in Nashville and a slow finish in Chicago,” NYCFC coach Nick Cushing said. “It’s game three coming up against a difficult Miami team, but I can feel how hungry the team is.”

NYCFC is 5-0-2 in its home openers in the Bronx and scored nine goals in the past two against Vancouver and FC Cincinnati.