Toronto FC travelled down to Fort Lauderdale to face Inter Miami in a battle between the two highest spending clubs Major League Soccer.
Coming into the match, Toronto sat bottom last, and Miami, who had picked up their form in recent games, sat in 12th. With only two points gathered from a possible 15, the Reds needed a win here to build some momentum and work towards the last playoff spot.
Miami kicked off, and the battle got underway.
In the eighth minute, Miami had an amazing chance to take a very early lead, but Robinson put his shot just wide from inside the 18 yard box. Toronto barely escaped the first ten minutes without conceding.
Westberg was given another start, and immediately repaid his manager by making a tremendous save in the 14th minute after the ball fell to Pizarro inside the 18. The Mexican international should have done better, but the save by Westberg was stellar.
Pizarro made up for his miss less than a minute later, and confidently took the ball past Luke Singh, before passing the ball into the bottom corner. The chance stemmed from another horrible giveaway in Toronto’s defensive third. Same old story, and another preventable goal conceded early. 1-0 in favour of Miami.
Make that 17 straight games without a clean sheet...pic.twitter.com/VgGmwaQGzk— Waking the Red (@WakingtheRed) August 22, 2021
That Pizarro goal marked the 42nd goal Toronto has conceded in the league this year, which includes 11 in the first 15 minutes. Many of the aforementioned goals have come from individual defensive errors and poor decision making, which most fans have become accustomed to.
Not long after, Soteldo came within inches of levelling the score for Toronto, after hitting the crossbar with a lovely freekick in the 23rd minute. A few inches lower, and the game would be tied.
One draws the FK. The other takes it.— Waking the Red (@WakingtheRed) August 22, 2021
SO CLOSE from the dynamic duo pic.twitter.com/ch6cTVCV9Y
In the 28th minute, Gonzalez missed a sitter. Had he scored, it may have been called back by VAR, but he did the VAR crew a favour and decided to put the ball well over the crossbar.
Robinson made no mistake this time in the 35th minute, after he executed the counter attack perfectly. Gonzalez got embarrassed in the 1v1, and after easily beating his man, Robinson tucked the ball into the top corner. 2-0 for Miami.
How does this keep happening?!? ♂️pic.twitter.com/AGz3xAgXNz— Waking the Red (@WakingtheRed) August 22, 2021
Westberg bailed out his unorganized backline in the 44th minute with another great 1v1 save against Pizarro. The scoreline at half could have been much worse if Westberg had not been standing on his head.
MOTM and it’s not even half timepic.twitter.com/nwleHMIRGD— Waking the Red (@WakingtheRed) August 22, 2021
Miami headed into the locker room with a deserved 2-0 advantage. The defending in the first half was atrocious, as well as the lack of effort that, at times, was extremely apparent throughout the team. The second half needed to be completely different if anything was to be salvaged from the match, but it seemed unlikely.
At the half, Auro and Bradley came off the bench for Delgado and Osorio.
Pizarro made it 3-0 in the 48th minute after another instance of an individual mistake and bad defending. Pizarro finished the chance nicely, but the opportunity to chip Westberg should never have been able to develop.
Four minutes after his defensive mistake that led to the third goal, Singh was replaced by Morrow at centre back. He did not have a good showing, and looked completely out of his depth all game.
In the 62nd minute, Kieran Gibbs scored an own goal with a lovely header into the back of his own net. Soteldo put the ball into a somewhat dangerous area, but the ex-Arsenal defender headed the ball into his own net despite the lack of pressure from any attacker. A very small glimmer of hope for the reds, but it would prove to be too little too late.
No TFC player looks a scoring threat tonight... luckily it doesn’t matter pic.twitter.com/ZT631ma2zD— Waking the Red (@WakingtheRed) August 22, 2021
Soteldo was brought onto the bench in the 80th minute, and Mullins came in to replace him, which was the fifth and final change of the night for Toronto. Instead of heading to the bench, Soteldo left the pitch and walked straight down the tunnel after being taken off by Perez.
Although that is not something you want to see from any player, I found the outward frustration somewhat refreshing, and nice to see, as no other player on the field seemed to care about the game at all.
The final whistle was blown, and Toronto dropped another three points away from home. The final score of 3-1 was deserving for Miami, and the performance from TFC left much to be desired.
A major take away were the extremely bad attitudes from every TFC player tonight. Multiple times, the ball would be lost and no one would track back. No one wanted to win the ball on the edge of their own box. No one wanted to go hard into a 50/50, and there was little to no urgency while attacking.
The lack of desire and hunger to win was extremely evident, and if the players want to pick up points from now until the end of the season, they must completely change the way they approach the game. All the fans ask for is to have players that want to play for the club, and at the moment, it is hard to pick out many players that tick that box.
The reds play their next game against Montreal at the Stade Saputo on August 27th, and will hopefully put forth a much better showing than they did today.