MLS weekend preview: Can Phil Neville's Inter Miami snap losing streak?

MLS returns this weekend following midweek games in domestic and continental competitions.

The league picked up a big win as 2020 champions Columbus Crew knocked off Liga MX champs Cruz Azul 2-0 in the Campeones Cup on Wednesday.

With last year's game cancelled, it marks the second time in three seasons that the MLS winner had knocked off the Mexican champion since the Cup was established in 2018.

Meanwhile, Seattle Sounders strengthened their position as leaders in the Western Conference with a 3-1 win over San Jose Earthquakes.

The New England Revolution also put more distance between themselves and the rest of the Eastern Conference with a 4-1 win over CF Montreal.

The Revs lead now have 19 points on the board thanks to a 2-2 draw between second-place Nashville SC and seventh-place Orlando City.

Inter Miami to bounce back?

Phil Neville's Inter Miami CF side had a great opportunity to move into the playoff picture as they travelled to Atlanta United on Wednesday. However, Atlanta scored the only goal of the game with a penalty kick in the 78th minute for a 1-0 win.

The victory moves Atlanta into sixth place in the East as they continue to soar since sacking Gabriel Heinze.

Miami were dominated throughout the match as they had just 35% of the possession. Atlanta peppered Nick Marsman with 19 shots, seven on target.

Despite playing all their stars like Gonzalo Higuain, Robbie Robinson, Rodolfo Pizarro, and Blaise Matuidi, the Herons didn't muster a shot on goal in the match.

Since winning three matches in a row, the Herons have fallen on tough times to end September. They have been outscored 10-1 in the last 12 days with three losses to Eastern Conference sides. Higuain has scored the only goal in that span.

Miami remain in 10th place but are now seven points out of a playoff spot and need to jump three clubs. They do have a game in hand over all three teams in front of them, but the task will be a difficult one.

It doesn't get any easier for Miami this weekend as they travel across the country to face Portland Timbers on Sunday. The Timbers are in fourth place in the West after winning at LAFC 2-1 on Wednesday.

FC Cincinnati to move on from Jaap Stam

Former Manchester United star Jaap Stam was sacked by FC Cincinnati this week. The Orange and Blue are in last place in the East and have the fewest points in MLS with just 20 through 26 games. Stam guided the team to four wins and a -23 goal difference this season.

His run included a 12-match winless streak, and the team has an interim manager in Tyrone Marshall for the rest of the 2021 season. They started the new era with a 3-2 loss at Toronto FC on Wednesday night.

They had beat Toronto in their most recent two wins but were unable to get another result Wednesday night despite scoring first.

Ronald Matarita scored in the 38th minute off a nice feed from Luciano Acosta. However, the struggling Reds scored the next three goals and snatched all three points despite Acosta scoring in the 78th minute.

Cincy take on New York Red Bulls who are unbeaten in four and sit fourth in the Eastern Conferernce.

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