Preview: Toronto FC heads to Miami for penultimate road trip
TORONTO, Ont. – With very little to play in 2021, the Reds will need to find moral victories in their remaining clashes. As TFC travel to DRV PNK in Miami on Wednesday night, the Reds will seek their first victory of 2021 against Inter Miami.
Kick-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EST and can be watched on TSN5.
With TFC officially eliminated from the 2021 MLS playoffs, there is only one significant competition left for this group to save anything this season – the Canadian Championship. Although the next round of matches is not until November 3, when the Reds take on Pacific FC, ensuring the Reds hit their mark before this week will undoubtedly be the head coach’s goal. Javier Perez and his coaching staff.
To that end, the minutes striker Jozy Altidore and midfielder Alejandro Pozuelo were able to play this weekend, in Club’s 2-0 loss to Atlanta United, could prove vital. On Saturday Altidore, Pozuelo and Yeferson Soteldo combined on the pitch for the final 30 minutes of the game.
With both Altidore and Pozuelo injured at various points throughout the season, that means the Club’s three designated players haven’t been on the pitch together for quite some time. While the rotation will be big with the 401 Derby this weekend, helping to create a chemistry between the club’s three designated players will be important as the Reds close 2021 and look to 2022.
This is only the 5th time this season that the 3 designated players of Toronto FC are on the field at the same time. The team played 35 matches in all competitions
– Michael Singh (@ MichaelSingh94) October 17, 2021
As of the weekend, Toronto FC added two new names to the injury record in addition to long-term injuries. Forward Ifunanyachi Achara, who left the weekend game in the first half, is listed as unavailable on Wednesday night with defender Omar Gonzalez.
In addition to the injuries the team are currently facing, the Reds will also be without midfielder Mark Delgado (accumulating yellow cards) and defender Auro Jr. who received a direct red in TFC’s game against Atlanta United.
Inter Miami enter this game after a 4-0 loss to Columbus Crew this weekend. The loss extended Miami’s winless streak to six games. To make matters worse, during their six-game losing streak, the Herons have scored just one goal but have conceded 16 times and allowed 4 or more goals in three games during that streak.
The six-game streak almost sealed Inter Miami’s fate in MLS. Miami is nine points from a playoff berth before Wednesday night.
Miami’s last victory in MLS dates back to September 14 against Toronto FC at BMO Field. That night, after the Reds turned down a late Jacob Shaffelburg goal, Inter Miami got all three points to death thanks to a Christian Makoun penalty in the 95th minute.
Unsurprisingly, Inter Miami’s most dangerous option in attack is Argentina striker Gonzalo Higuain. Considering Higuain’s influence in Miami’s offense, it’s no surprise that he leads the club in terms of goals and assists. In 26 games this season, Higuain has been involved in 15 of Miami’s 25 goals having scored 10 times this season and adding an assist on five goals.
Inter Miami will be without Ventura Alvarado, Ian Fray, Joevin Jones and Ryan Shawcross, while Nicolas Gift, Kieran Gibbs, Brek Shea and Victor Ulloa are currently listed as questionable.
While Miami is seven points ahead of the Reds, both clubs have very similar and disastrous defensive records. The Reds and Herons have the same -22 goal differential, with only FC Cincinnati having a worse goal differential in the league at -26.
This will be the fourth meeting between Miami and Toronto. With their previous 1-0 victory, Miami has now won two of the three head-to-head matches in this game and has collected all six points for the Reds this season.
Toronto’s only victory over Miami came in 2020, the club’s first season of expansion in MLS and so far in 2021, in addition to scoring zero points against Miami, no TFC player has managed to score against Miami either. The only official goal the Reds have scored against Miami this season was a home goal of Kieran Gibbs.
Opponent: Inter Miami CF
Stadium: DRV PNK Stadium, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Kick-off: 7:30 p.m. EST
Watch: TSN 5