Alejandro Bedoya - Philadelphia Union - warm up top
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Alejandro Bedoya on Inter Miami momentum, Philadelphia Union outlook for 2020

LOS ANGELES – Alejandro Bedoya is looking to continue the Philadelphia Union’s upward trajectory in 2020, but he's also keeping close tabs on one of Major League Soccer's new expansion teams.

Bedoya, who grew up in South Florida and calls the region home, is excited to see David Beckham's Inter Miami CF join MLS, giving the league a presence in the area for the first time since the Miami Fusion folded after the 2001 season.

“Inter Miami? I'm just like all you guys, trying to see, from afar, if they get that stadium deal done,” Bedoya said Wednesday morning at Banc of California Stadium. “I think it's cool that they're in the league now. It'll be nice.

“I was just home in South Florida for two months during the offseason, and I would see the progress made at the stadium, and just seeing friends and people who weren't really that interested in soccer before excited talking about it. People are talking about it down there, so that's cool to see.”

Bedoya, 32, watched the Miami Fusion in action at the old Lockhart Stadium when he was younger. Now, he’ll play Inter Miami on April 5.

“I remember the Miami Fusion days down there. Some nostalgia, you know?” he said. “They had a great team. I remember watching that team, and they played with some flair. They had some great players.”

South Florida, with cultures steeped in the Caribbean and South America, has long been a soccer hotbed. Beckham, who jump-started the Designated Player era with his 2007 arrival, has been at Inter Miami’s forefront as they look to build interest domestically and globally. From that, a steady stream of high-profile players have been linked to the club.

“I think a lot of eyes are on them, not only here, but around the world, to see what they do,” Bedoya said. “It's going to be interesting to see how they come together as a team, how they embrace that kind of melting pot, the diversity down there, that South American kind of flair, influence. So I'm interested to see how they're going to do, and, yeah, I'm happy for South Florida to have a big soccer team.”

Bedoya, who joined Philadelphia in 2016 after playing in France, Sweden and Scotland, is hoping the Union can build on their success last year, when they finished third in the Eastern Conference standings. They rallied for an extratime home victory over the New York Red Bulls in the first round of the Audi 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs, before falling to Atlanta United in the Conference Semifinals.

He notes that the Union don’t have the kind of budget “the final-four teams” possess, “but we still compete. And that's the most important thing. We just have to keep competing.”

“[Head coach Jim Curtin has] done a great job with the group that he's got,” he said. “I think we're doing the best with what we've got, and that's up to the coach to be able to get that out of each and every player. I think with my type of play, my style of play, and I think what I brought also is some of my leadership skills, I think we've been able to harness that kind of blue-collar, Philadelphia attitude in our style of play and also combine that with some good technical work."