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Preview: Toronto FC try to get back in win column vs. star-studded Inter Miami FC

Two teams desperate for a win, TFC face-off against MLS newcomers Gonzalo Higuain and Blaise Matuidi’s Inter Miami in another must-win.

MLS: Toronto FC at Philadelphia Union
Toronto FC midfielder Nick DeLeon (18) kicks the ball in a game at Subaru Park.
(Streicher/USA TODAY)

TORONTO, Canada—As the Reds prepare for Inter Miami FC, the task at hand is simple: get all three points.

Of course, even just winning won’t be enough for TFC as the Reds will need some luck on their side and hope the Philadelphia Union falter in the last week of the season. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m EST.

A week ago, Toronto FC were preparing to extend their lead atop the Supporters’ Shield standings. A week later, the Reds now face a daunting challenge sitting three points behind league leaders, Philadelphia, with just two matches left.

The last two games have been far from typical from Greg Vanney’s squad. TFC fans are not used to seeing the Reds play behind the ball as much as they have in the last two games. If the Reds want any chance at collecting all six points over the next two games, they will need to play the brand of soccer that has been synonymous with Toronto FC over the last few years.

Injuries have played a major factor over the last two games leading to the Reds’ rare two-game losing streak. Already with Jozy Altidore, Ayo Akinola, Jonathan Osorio, going into Wednesday night’s match-up, Greg Vanney broke news to media that Pablo Piatti would be unavailable for ‘a couple weeks’ with a calf strain. What that means for the start of the playoffs remains to be seen, but in the interim, it puts even more responsibility on the shoulders of Alejandro Pozuelo to carry the Reds’ offence.

And while Pozuelo is one of the best offensive talents in the league, he still needs help. Nick DeLeon was a bright spot for TFC against New York City on the offensive end and may well have to own that responsibility once again as the Reds prepare for Miami on Sunday night.

Toronto will also have added incentive as they prepare for David Beckham’s Miami. For the first time since the pandemic, TFC will be opening doors to supporters—up to 5,000 supporters will be allowed into TFC’s adopted home for Sunday’s matchup. After playing for the last few months behind closed doors at BMO Field and ‘The Rent’, it’s sure to get every player in a red shirt amped up to put on a show for some of their faithful.

On the other side of the field, it’s Inter Miami who are in a fight of their own. The first-year MLS club have had an inconsistent showing this season but are still very much in a playoff race. Miami is currently tied for the final playoff spot alongside D.C. United and the Chicago Fire. A win and some luck on their side could also see Miami leapfrog Montreal and set themselves firmly in a playoff spot before ‘Decision Day.’

While Miami might be a new team in the league, the Reds won’t be caught off-guard with some of Miami’s players. Along with former Red Jay Chapman, Blaise Matuidi, Gonzalo Higuain and Rodolfo Pizarro could all feature for Miami. The Reds will be well aware of the attacking threat that Miami poses and know that they’ll need to be defensive secure for 90 minutes to snap their losing streak.

Greg Vanney defended his team for their results and performances in their last two games. As the Reds prepare for Sunday night, it’s time for his players to respond.

Additional Notes

  • This was the first time this season that Alejandro Pozuelo went back-to-back matches without registering a shot on target.
  • This was just the second time this season the Reds have lost back-to-back games (1-0 loss vs MTL, 3-2 loss vs VAN). TFC snapped that streak with a 2-1 win in Montreal behind a Jozy Altidore game winner.
  • A number of Reds have been nominated for the MLS end-of-season awards, including Pozuelo and Chris Mavinga for MVP. You can find all the TFC nominees here.

How to watch

Who: Philadelphia Union
When: Sunday, November 1, 7:30 PM ET
Where: Rentschler Field, Connecticut
Radio: TSN 1050