Cold Hard Loss For Inter Miami CF In Toronto

Inter Miami Toronto

BMO Field- Inter Miami CF lost its second straight match on the road after beginning the season with two consecutive wins at home, going down 2-0 at Toronto FC. The goals for the “Reds” were scored by Jonathan Osorio and Mark-Anthony Kaye, both in the second half of the game.

Inter Miami made two modifications in its Starting XI from the previous match against NYCFC, with Bryce Duke and Harvey Neville making their first starts of the season for the Herons. Duke slotted in for the injured captain Gregore, while Neville made his MLS debut in place of  DeAndre Yedlin.

Kick Off

The first half began with an aggressive and dangerous surge forward by Toronto FC that caused Inter Miami some trouble early in the match. The Reds countered Inter Miami, often catching the Herons outside backs high and out of defensive position. The Herons then began to control possession and create some chances of their own without the finishing touch. Neither team was able to score on the opportunities they had and the half ended 0-0.

Toronto FC scored to begin the second half, with Jonathan Osorio giving the Canadian team the lead at the 48′ minute. The goal came off good team combination play by the Reds with Brandon Servania winning a ball in the midfield and playing it forward to Osorio, who passed it to Mark-Anthony Kaye. Kaye made a wonderful switch and found Bernardeschi on the right side of the pitch, Federico served a nice ball to an overlapping Richie Laryea who then made a slicing cross into the Miami box. Osorio beat the defenders to the ball and hit it into the Miami goal for the 1-0 lead.

Miami continued to battle, forcing the ball upfield more with sheer will than fluidity, not looking comfortable in the midfield. The Herons had possession with little purpose, not creating great chances on the Toronto goal. The opportunities that Miami created went wasted as they could not put the ball into the Reds net.

Toronto would get on the board again at the 69′ minute off a Mark-Anthony Kaye floating header from a free-kick cross by Federico Bernardeschi. The ball seemed to float like a balloon for an instant and landed inside the Miami goal for the 2-0 Toronto lead. It was a gut-wrenching score given the fact that Inter Miami CF was having so much difficulty trying to get on the scoreboard.

The match would end 2-0 in Toronto FC’s favor, a team Inter Miami had beaten five games in a row.

Press Conference

Coach Neville seemed to get irked by all the questions about team captain Gregore after the game. He made it clear that his absence was not the reason for the team’s defeat and that it should not be used as an excuse. The next-man-up attitude is the norm in team sports, but sometimes particular qualities and skills are missed.

Gregore is the Inter Miami CF midfielder who does the best job of doing the “dirty work” of chasing people down, covering teammates’ backs, and offering an initial wall of protection for the backline. He is undoubtedly the best at it on the team, and it’s not even close. This ability will be missed.

Final Thought

The loss against Toronto FC puts Miami at two wins and two losses and drops them into the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference. After a fantastic start to the season, the Herons fall from the sky with a thud. The back-to-back road losses bring back thoughts of last season and the difficulty this team had with winning road games. Coach Neville said to start this 2023 campaign that the road record would be season-defining for Miami. The early indicators are not positive, but there are still fifteen more away games to go, let’s hope things improve.

Gregore will be out for an extended period of time, and in the first game after his injury, the midfield looked in disarray. Jean Mota, Bryce Duke and the rest of the midfielders need to step up and make this work. There is enough quality on the team to overcome Gregore’s loss, but do the players have the grit and toughness that the captain brought each game?

Bryce Duke is in a position to define what his career might look like moving forward. He has all the tools to be a solid player in this league and will be given the opportunity to show them this season. Can he elevate his game and consistently be a top performer in the midfield for Miami? I believe this season we will find out if he is a starting caliber player or a good backup.

Josef Martinez has yet to show anything special for Miami so far in his four appearances. Inter Miami CF went out of its way to bring him here, and Josef needs to start showing why they made the move. Hopefully, his spell with the Venezuelan National team helps him find his groove again.

Nico Stefanelli played his best game so far against Toronto FC, but the team needs more from him. The good news is that he seems to be getting better and more acclimated to the MLS, the bad news is that I thought this process would be much faster.

Rodolfo Pizarro took a step back in the game against Toronto FC. He looked a little wild at times and was not great defensively either. Let’s hope it’s just a one-game issue and not a lingering problem.

Inter Miami CF returns home to play Chicago Fire Saturday, March 25th at DRV Pink Stadium, and they will need to get a win by any means necessary, with no room for excuses or slip-ups. If Miami were to lose, the confidence the team generated to begin the season will be lost.

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