Inter Miami CF (6W-4D-9L, 22 points) earned an emphatic 3-1 win over Toronto FC at DRV PNK Stadium, extending its home winning streak to four and its home unbeaten streak to five. The victory came as a result of a brace from Heineken Man of the Match Rodolfo Pizarro and a goal from Robbie Robinson, as well as a pair of assists from Leandro González Pirez.
Inter Miami’s starting XI for the match featured two changes from Wednesday’s victory over Chicago Fire FC; Victor Ulloa and Pizarro returned to the starting lineup in place of Blaise Matuidi and Indiana Vassilev, respectively.
The hosts opened the match in strong form, which would carry throughout the first half. In the 6th minute, defender Christian Makoun latched onto a loose ball outside the opposition box and beat a defender with a skilfull roulette, before firing a shot from long distance that went wide.
Inter Miami continued to exert its pressure, with chances falling to the feet of Robinson, Gonzalo Higuaín and Rodolfo Pizarro in the opening 15 minutes. This trio quickly proved decisive in the following moments.
In the 15th minute, Pizarro opened the scoring; Higuaín drove forward and played a pass to Pizarro at the top of the box, who then faked a shot and cut past a defender before tucking a curling left-footed strike inside the far post for the early 1-0 lead. The goal was Pizarro’s second in as many matches, while the assist was Higuaín’s team-leading fifth of 2021.
Inter Miami kept its foot on the gas, doubling the lead before the half was over. In the 35th minute, González Pirez won the ball in his own half and threaded a perfect outside of the foot pass down the left wing to Robinson. The forward ran onto the pass and drove into the box, shaped like he was going to shoot, but burst back towards the endline, beating his defender, and fired a left-footed shot into the top left corner of the net from a tight angle for a 2-0 lead. The goal was Robinson’s fourth of 2021 and his second in as many matches, while the assist was LGP’s second.
After another pair of dangerous chances for Inter Miami in the first half, the team came into the second half full of momentum. In the 48th minute, the hosts capitalized on that momentum; González Pirez played a long ball from deep in his own half over the top to Pizarro’s run behind the defense. The Mexican midfielder connected with the pass and chipped a shot from outside of the box that beat the keeper and hit the back of the net for a 3-0 lead. The goal was Pizarro’s second of the night and third in the last two matches, while the assist was LGP’s second of the night and third of the season.
Toronto responded to Inter Miami’s third goal with a goal of its own in the 62nd minute; a free kick from Yeferson Soteldo was sent into the box where it met an Inter Miami player’s head, resulting in an own goal and cutting the lead to 3-1.
Despite Toronto’s goal, Inter Miami comfortably saw out the rest of the match, securing a 3-1 win at DRV PNK Stadium.
Heineken Man of the Match
Midfielder Rodolfo Pizarro was voted Heineken Man of the Match by fans for his decisive performance against Toronto, including his two standout goals.
"It [was] a big six-point week for us in terms of teams that we played around us, Chicago and Toronto," said head coach Phil Neville. "We knew they were two really difficult games where we knew there was a lot riding on it and I thought we produced two outstanding performances.”
Inter Miami returns to action on Friday, Aug. 27 at 8:30 p.m. ET when it travels to Exploria Stadium to take on Orlando City SC.