Inter Miami are fortunate to have Jordi Alba, so says head coach Gerardo Martino.

Alba scored a stunning volley that ultimately proved the winner just before half-time in Saturday's 2-1 win over Nashville SC. The strike came with an expected goals (xG) value of 0.01.

That victory kept Miami top of the Eastern Conference, with a two-point lead over FC Cincinnati.

Miami face Charlotte in midweek, and with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez still away at the Copa America, Martino is glad to have such an experienced, quality player as Alba at his disposal.

"I celebrated] as should be celebrated because it was a great goal," Martino said.

"I'm not surprised because he is a player with so much quality.

"He [Alba] puts me at ease for what he gives the team and the options he gives us in attack and how well he played defensively.

"Jordi is an internationally recognised player and we're lucky to have him on our team."

Nashville dragged themselves back into the contest in the second half, and Miami ultimately relied on goalkeeper Drake Callendar to make a late save to earn all three points.

Reflecting on his side's display, Martino added: "I believe we had a very good first half, we controlled the whole thing.

"In the second half, we did not control the ball the same way as the first half, especially when Nashville had a line of three, [but] we didn't suffer.

"I think in the end we won the game rather well."

Charlotte lost 1-0 to the Houston Dynamo last time out, snapping a four-game unbeaten streak for Dean Smith's team.

They sit sixth in the Eastern Conference.


Charlotte FC - Patrick Agyemang

Agyemang leads Charlotte's scoring charts with five MLS goals. They have come from 14 shots on target, and 26 attempts overall. He will be one Miami's defence has to look out for.

Inter Miami - Julian Gressel

Gressel provided an assist for Miami's opener against Nashville. It was his 100th goal contribution in MLS.

Since he joined MLS in 2017, Gressel has provided 62 assists, with only Cincinnati's Luciano Acosta (65) setting up more goals.


While Miami are top of the standings, Charlotte are expected to challenge for a positive result in this one, with Opta's supercomputer ranking the draw threat highly.

Miami have won their last three away games in MLS, though, so the Herons still come into this as slight favourites.

That being said, Miami have lost their last two trips to Charlotte. In fact, last season, these teams split the record evenly over their three meetings in all competitions, with Miami winning one, Charlotte winning another and the other game drawn.


Inter Miami - 41.6%

Charlotte - 32.9%

Draw - 25.6%