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Preview: Toronto FC travel to Miami for penultimate road trip

The Reds look to close out the season strong starting in Miami

MLS: Atlanta United FC at Toronto FC
Toronto FC look to bounce back from their weekend defeat when they travel to Miami.
Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

TORONTO, Ont. - With very little to play for in 2021, the Reds will have to find moral victories in their remaining matchups. On Wednesday night, as TFC travel to Miami’s DRV PNK Stadium, the Reds will be looking for their first win of 2021 against Inter Miami.

Kick-off is scheduled for 7:30 PM EST and can be watched on TSN5.

With TFC officially eliminated from the 2021 MLS Playoffs, it leaves just one meaningful competition for this group to salvage something from this season - the Canadian Championship. While the next round of matches isn’t until November 3rd when the Reds take on Pacific FC, making sure the Reds are firing on all cylinders heading into that week will undoubtedly be the goal for Head Coach Javier Perez and his coaching staff.

To that end, the minutes that striker Jozy Altidore and midfielder Alejandro Pozuelo were able to play on the weekend, in the Club’s 2-0 loss against Atlanta United, could prove vital. Saturday saw Altidore, Pozuelo, and Yeferson Soteldo combine on the field for the last 30 minutes of the match.

With injuries to both Altidore and Pozuelo at various points throughout the season, has meant that the Club’s three designated players have not been on the field together for any meaningful amount of time. While rotation will be important with the 401 Derby this weekend, helping build chemistry between the club’s three designated players will be important as the Reds close out 2021 and look ahead to 2022.

From the weekend, Toronto FC have added two new names to the injury report in addition to the long-term injuries. Striker Ifunanyachi Achara, who left the weekend’s match in the first-half is listed as unavailable for Wednesday night along with defender Omar Gonzalez.

In addition to the injuries currently facing the team, the Reds will also be without midfielder Mark Delgado (yellow card accumulation) and defender Auro Jr. who was shown a straight red during TFC’s matchup against Atlanta United.

Inter Miami are coming into this game off of a 4-0 loss to the Columbus Crew on the weekend. The loss extended Miami’s winless streak to six matches. To make matters worse, through their six match losing streak, the Herons have only scored one goal but have conceded 16 times and have allowed 4 or more goals in three matches during this streak.

This six match streak has all but sealed Inter Miami’s fate in the MLS. Miami sits nine points out of a playoff spot heading into Wednesday night.

Miami’s last win in the MLS came on September 14th against Toronto FC at BMO Field. On that night, after the Reds had a Jacob Shaffelburg goal disallowed late in the match, Inter Miami got all three points at the death through a 95th minute Christian Makoun penalty.

Unsurprisingly, Inter Miami’s most dangerous option in attack is Argentinian forward Gonzalo Higuain. Given how influential Higuain is in Miami’s offence, it’s no surprise he leads the Club in both goals and assists. In 26 games this season, Higuain has been involved in 15 of Miami’s 25 goals having netted 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 sit seven points clear of the Reds, both clubs have very similar, disastrous defensive records. The Reds and the Herons sport the same -22 goal differential, with only FC Cincinnati having a worse goal differential in the league at -26.

This will be the fourth encounter between Miami and Toronto. With their previous 1-0 win, Miami has now won two of three matches head-to-head in this matchup and have picked up all six points from the Reds this season.

Toronto’s only win against Miami came in 2020, during the expansion club’s first season in the MLS and so far in 2021, in addition to not having secured any 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, has been through a Kieran Gibbs own goal.

Match Details:

Opponent: Inter Miami CF
Stadium: DRV PNK Stadium, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Kick-off: 7:30 PM EST
Watch: TSN 5