The Reds are back in action at BMO Field this weekend as they get ready to host Inter Miami CF on Saturday. As will become routine this season, kick-off is scheduled for 7:30 pm ET.
With the number of new pieces that the Reds have added this offseason, there was always going to be an adjustment period for this squad. To their credit, TFC has taken the lead at some point during each of their first three matches. That however, has not resulted in three points so far this season.
Injuries to the Reds attacking group has left Bob Bradley with problems that Toronto has not been able to solve. So far this season, Toronto has seen injuries to Adama Diomande, Ayo Akinola, and most notably, Lorenzo Insigne. On a squad that heavily relies on its star power, losing Insigne has left Federico Bernardeschi to drive the Reds offence.
Akinola is questionable to return this week, however Diamonde and Insigne remain out this week. The Reds will have to become used to life without Insigne for the next few games as the club announced earlier this week that Insigne will be unavailable for the next 3-4 weeks with a groin injury.
With a lack of offensive ability in this Reds team, there has been added pressure on the defensive side of the ball. Last week, saw TFC take a 1-0 lead into half-time, but saw a completely different side in the second half. Columbus was able to continue to grow into the match and put more and more pressure on the Reds’ defence, which eventually resulted in the Columbus equalizer.
Goals for the Reds may be at even more of a premium this weekend. Technically, no opposing player has scored against Miami this season.
Heading into Saturday’s matchup, Miami has conceded just one goal in their three matches so far this season. After opening the season with back-to-back 2-0 wins at home, the Herons were unable to pick up all three points last weekend in New York as they lost 1-0 New York City FC, thanks to an own goal.
Despite the loss, this has been the best start in franchise history for Miami and they will be hoping to get back in the win column this weekend.
For Miami, this matchup may be just the cure to bounce back in Matchday 4.
TFC has struggled in this matchup since Miami’s debut in the MLS. The Reds last victory in this match came in 2020 when Toronto collected all three points in a 2-1 victory. Since then, Miami has owned this match as the Florida-based team has won the last five matches, including both encounters last season.
Reds fans will be all too familiar with one of Miami’s newest attacking threat, Josef Martinez. Martinez, who joined Miami this winter from Atlanta, torched TFC with four goals in his first three matches against Toronto. Toronto’s defence has gotten the better of the Venezuelan attacker recently though, as Martinez has failed to score in his last five appearances against Toronto.
Martinez has started all three games this season for the Herons failing to register a goal so far. The Venezuelan will be all too eager to net his first of the season and get closer to the century mark in the MLS.
Miami’s visit to BMO Field on Saturday will be a big test for a squad that continues to find its identity. There have been sparks of good moments for this Reds team, but have faltered in games far too often. Saturday is a chance to right the mistakes early in this season and perhaps pick up all three points for the first time in 2023.