By Herb Emmett
Corentin Jean scored before halftime, Robert Taylor added a goal after the break and Inter Miami stunned the defending Eastern Conference champion Union in a 2-0 home win.
The Union’s leading scorer from last season, Daniel Gazdag, came closest to scoring for the Union, who entered Saturday without a regulation loss in their last five games (including playoffs).
The Union’s latest regulation setback also came on the road against one of the league’s newer teams, as Philadelphia fell 4-0 to 2022 expansion side Charlotte FC early last October.
After Union goalkeeper Andre Blake pushed one curling free kick over his crossbar in the 19th minute, Miami had a deserved lead 13 minutes later.
The goal stemmed from a run from Rodolfo Pizarro that drew several Philadelphia defenders. Pizarro eventually had the ball poked away, but only as far as Jean, who controlled the ball with his first touch and unleashed a dipping, 25-yard strike into the bottom left corner beyond Blake’s dive.
Taylor entered the game in the 76th minute and then doubled the lead in even more emphatic fashion one minute later, using his chest to control Jean Mota’s pass with his first touch before hammering a dipping volley past Blake.
The Union’s best chance of the first half came only three minutes after going behind, but Drake Callender denied Gazdag with a sprawling save after his giveaway led to the chance.
Mota struck the crossbar in the 67th minute for Miami and Julian Carranza made Callender make a strong save from a tight angle in the 69th before Taylor sealed the points for the hosts.