TORONTO, Canada—There is no question that the 2021 season has been a season of frustration. Week after week, the Reds have struggled to get results, and after yet another loss, have all but assured themselves a spot in the bottom of the league standings.
There are still games to be played however, and TFC will be back at BMO Field with two games this week in front of the Reds faithful, beginning with a matchup against Inter Miami CF on Tuesday night. Kick-off is scheduled for 7:30 PM, and can be watched on TSN.
With a short turnaround from the weekend, Head Coach Javier Perez will have to make some decisions for Tuesday night’s lineup. Perez may have already been looking ahead with his lineup decisions with Jonathan Osorio, Yeferson Soteldo, and Richie Laryea all being absent from the starting lineup. While Osorio and Soteldo did come off the bench in the second half, with the Reds chasing the game, and played a little over half an hour, Laryea did not. The gamble did not pay off in Cincinnati, but will mean that the trio will be fresh to start.
Along with the long-term injuries to Ayo Akinola, Jozy Altidore, and Ralph Priso who continue to be unavailable for selection, TFC’s number 10, Alejandro Pozuelo will be unavailable for selection for Tuesday night’s matchup in Toronto. While the Spaniard was not listed on the injury report heading into Saturday’s match, Pozuelo was not named to the game day squad, and is now on the Club’s injury report listed as ‘out’ with a lower body injury.
With little to play for now, the Reds are only playing for pride and can play a role in making life more difficult for team’s in a playoff race.
Toronto’s opponent on Tuesday night, find themselves in such a position. Miami, who currently sit in ninth in the Eastern Conference standings, are two points out from a playoff spot. The Herons had their own disastrous start to the season, having won just two matches in their first 13, including a six match losing streak between May and July have since turned their season around to give them a shot at the playoffs.
Since their 5-0 loss to the New England Revolution in July, Miami has lost just once and picked up six wins including a 3-1 against the Reds at DRV PNK Stadium on August 21st. In a stark contrast to the Reds, Inter Miami currently find themselves amidst a five game unbeaten run, last losing to New York City FC on August 14th.
Miami does have a lot of talent in their lineup, and it’s not surprising that leading the way on offence is Argentinian forward Gonzalo Higuain. The former Real Madrid and Juventus striker currently leads Miami’s offence with nine goals and five assists in 20 games this season.
On the defensive side, Miami has also become stronger as the season has gone one. Particularly in their last four matches, the Inter Miami defence has conceded just one goal (to Toronto), which was credited to Miami defender Kieran Gibbs as an own goal. Since then, the club has managed to keep three consecutive clean sheets against Orlando, Cincinnati, and most recently on the weekend against the Columbus Crew where Miami walked away with a 1-0 victory at home.
On the injury front for Miami, the Herons will be without Ventura Alvarado, Ian Fray, Kieran Gibbs, and Joevin Jones. While Fredrico Higuain and Ryan Shawcross have both been listed as questionable.
Miami and Toronto have a short history in league play having played just two matches against each other since Miami entered the league, and this will be the second of three meetings in 2021. The Reds will want to reverse their 3-1 defeat against Miami, while Miami can leapfrog into a playoff position with a win on Tuesday night.
Opponent: Inter Miami CF
Kick-off: 7:30 PM EST
Stadium: BMO Field, Toronto, ON