PREVIEW – Both Toronto FC and Inter Miami CF look to bounce back from losses on Wednesday to New York City FC and FC Dallas. Toronto is chasing the Supporters’ Shield while Miami is trying to clinch an MLS playoff spot.
Inter Miami CF and Toronto FC look to get back on the winning column
Inter Miami CF
The importance of Sunday’s game for Miami
Miami currently has 21 points in 21 games and is just outside an MLS playoff spot. This places them 11th in the Eastern Conference. They are tied in points with the Chicago Fire and D.C. United. Miami though has more wins than D.C., who are ranked 12th in the Eastern Conference. The Fire is also tied in points, but has a better winning percentage and is 10th in the Eastern Conference, which is the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. This is because the Fire has a game in hand on both D.C. and Chicago.
Inter Miami CF’s previous game against FC Dallas
The other team to look at is the Montreal Impact. They are currently ninth in the Eastern Conference with 23 points in 21 games played. They have only two points more than Miami. The Herons had a chance to pass the Impact in the standings against Dallas. They were leading 0-1 thanks to a goal scored by Rodolfo Pizarro. However, Dallas ended up with a penalty shot in the 60th minute. Franco Jara converted, and the game was then tied 1-1.
We needed it.
— x – FC Dallas (@FCDallas) October 29, 2020
Dallas would add one more goal in the 82nd minute. Ryan Hollingshead scored the game-winning goal for Dallas and they won the game 2-1. The Herons goal and assist leader is Lewis Morgan, who currently has five goals and seven assists for Miami. They will look to rebound against Toronto, who have lost two straight games but are still one of the best teams in MLS. Ben Sweat, an American player who plays for Miami, said this about the loss to Dallas:
“We’re frustrated because we were up a goal and we went down and I feel like that’s happened to us quite a few times this year,” said Ben Sweat.
They will look to get back to their winning ways against TFC. Toronto has lost two straight games but is still one of the best teams in MLS. It will be a tough test that Miami will need to be ready for.
Toronto FC and their chase for the Supporters’ Shield
TFC is the first team to qualify for the 2020 MLS playoffs. Right now, they are trying to win the Supporters’ Shield trophy. They are three points behind the Philadelphia Union with only two games left in the 2020 MLS season. However, TFC lost the tiebreaker with the Union. If TFC has the same amount of points as the Union, they will also have the same amount of wins, which is the first tiebreaker.
The second tiebreaker is points differential. Toronto only has a +7-goal differential while Philadelphia has a +23-goal differential. It will be hard, if not impossible for TFC to turn around the goal differential in just two games. There is however still a chance for TFC to win the Supporters’ Shield. They will though need to depend on the Union not getting at least four points in their two remaining MLS season games.
Alejandro Pozuelo and Ayo Akinola are co-leaders for TFC with eight goals each. Pozuelo is also tied for first in MLS with Houston Dynamo player Darwin Quintero with 10 assists.
Toronto FC’s previous game against New York City FC
TFC is not the type of team that will beat up a team by a large scoreline. 10 of TFC’s 12 wins were won by a one-goal differential. Injuries have been a major concern for TFC. As a result, they have lost two straight games to the Union and NYCFC. This is what Toronto head coach Greg Vanney said after TFC lost 0-1 to NYCFC.
“Tonight the guys worked their asses off. They fought, they competed, they battled. It wasn’t perfect. It was never going to be perfect, OK? We had chances, we didn’t finish the chances. Our chances tonight, most of them went to our left back (Justin Morrow playing in a more advanced midfield role) … That’s where we are right now.”
TFC were heavily outshot by NYCFC. Toronto had zero shots on target while NYCFC had six. As a result, NYCFC scored. TFC goalkeeper Quentin Westberg saved a Valentin Castellanos shot in the 51st minute. However, Jesús Medina grabbed the rebound and scored the game-winning goal for NYCFC.
— New York City FC (@NYCFC) October 29, 2020
Injuries or absences
TFC has a lengthy list of injuries. This includes Ifunanyachi Achara who has been injured since July 2nd with a torn knee ligament. Jozy Altidore has a hamstring injury since October 5th, Alex Bono has a finger injury since October 13th, and Pablo Piatti with a calf strain since October 23rd. Lastly, Ayo Akinola has been injured with a strain since October 16th. There is hope Akinola will appear for the next game.
OUT: M – Achara
OUT: F – Jozy Altidore
OUT: GK – Alex Bono
OUT: M – Pablo Piatti
QUESTIONABLE: M – Jonathan Osorio
QUESTIONABLE: D – Chris Mavinga
QUESTIONABLE: F – Ayo Akinola
QUESTIONABLE: M – Marky Delgado
— Michael Singh (@MichaelSingh94) October 28, 2020
The players questionable or even out for the NYCFC game could play in the Miami game. However, do not expect players like Pablo Piatti and Jozy Altidore to play on November 1st.
For Miami, Luis Robles fractured his arm on October 3rd. Denso Ulysse currently is experiencing a leg injury since February 1st. Furthermore, David Norman Jr. was injured with a left ankle injury on March 1st and George Acosta was injured with a left knee injury on February 1st. There is currently no timeline for the players to return on Sunday, but that could change. In addition, there are three Miami players confirmed to not appear for Sunday’s game against TFC.
Bad news for Inter Miami ⚽️: Nico Figal out for Sunday’s game and for a few weeks with leg injury. Gonzalez Pirez, Reyes also out with yellow card accumulation. @HeraldSports @InterMiamiCF @MLS #InterMiamiCF
— Michelle Kaufman (@kaufsports) October 30, 2020
Inter Miami CF-Toronto FC game overview
Both teams have a lot to play for on Sunday. For Miami, it is trying to get an MLS playoff spot. Furthermore, for TFC it was about winning the Supporters’ Shield. This will be a very tense match for both sides. The game will take place in Rentschler Field at Pratt & Whitney Stadium – East Hartford at 7:30 PM eastern time. It will be televised on TSN in Canada, CBS4 (Miami) in Miami, and streamed on MLS Live on ESPN+ in the US.
Toronto should have the advantage, as both teams have lots of injuries and/or absences. Lastly, there will be fans at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field in Hartford on November 1st. Unfortunately, this does not mean TFC fans from Toronto can attend as the border is closed between Canada and the US. Still, it is something and it gives TFC a crowd of its own since their home opener back on March 7th at BMO Field.