Inter Miami CF (9W-5D-9L, 32 points) earned a 0-1 win over Toronto FC on Tuesday night thanks to another dramatic stoppage winner, this time from Christian Makoun from the penalty spot. The goal was Makoun’s first for Inter Miami and it extended the team’s unbeaten streak to six. The team also kept its fourth consecutive clean sheet in the match, led by Heineken Man of the Match Nick Marsman.
Inter Miami opened proceedings with a handful of changes to its starting XI from its previous match just a few days ago; Kelvin Leerdam, Jay Chapman and Indiana Vassilev lined up as starters in place of Brek Shea, Blaise Matuidi and Gonzalo Higuaín. Chapman’s inclusion marked his first start since early July, doing so against his former team.
It was an open start to the match with both sides creating danger in transition. In the 17th minute, a beautiful passing sequence between Rodolfo Pizarro and Robbie Robinson saw the forward receive a pass on the edge of the box and slide a pass into the box for Lewis Morgan one on one with the keeper from a tight angle, but his shot went wide of the far post.
Nicolás Figal made his presence felt over the ensuing moments, making three important tackles in dangerous areas, dispossessing Yeferson Soteldo on a few occasions, and springing quick counterattacking opportunities.
In the 37th minute, Chapman threaded a pass behind the defense to Robinson, who was then brought down by the last defender. The referee blew his whistle and gave a red card to Kemar Lawrence for denial of an obvious goal-scoring opportunity.
Inter Miami created another pair of chances before the half was over, both beginning with precise long balls from Leandro González Pirez, but shots from Vassilev and Morgan were saved, sending the match into halftime scoreless.
A scrappy second half opened with a pair of changes for Inter Miami in the 55th minute, bringing on Federico Higuaín and Shea for Vassilev and Leerdam.
Nick Marsman was tested in the 58th minute, making his first save of the match. The goalkeeper proved to be pivotal throughout the remainder of the half, making a few important saves, including a spectacular diving denial of a curling long-range effort by Soteldo that was seemingly heading for the top corner of the net, and another timely save just before stoppage time.
The team made two more changes before the final whistle, bringing on Julián Carranza and Blaise Matuidi for Pizarro and Chapman, but it was starting center back Christian Makoun who made the difference for Inter Miami. In the fourth minute of second-half stoppage time, the defender played a one-two on the edge of the box, followed by another one-two with Robinson as Makoun drove towards the endline, drawing a penalty. He then stepped up to take the ensuing penalty himself, calmly sending the keeper in the wrong direction and slotting his shot inside the post to claim a 0-1 victory on the road. The goal was also Makoun’s first as an Inter Miami player and tied for the latest in a match in Club history.
With the win, Inter Miami climbs above the playoff line to fifth place in the Eastern Conference table.
Heineken Man of the Match
Goalkeeper Nick Marsman was voted Heineken Man of the Match for his standout performance for the team, making four saves and keeping his fourth consecutive clean sheet.
"It felt like a painful game because we didn't play well at all...But ultimately the pride in which they keep going until the end, they keep fighting, they keep battling, they find a way to win. I think there are not many teams in the whole of MLS that scored as many goals late as what we have, so we kept our feet firmly on the ground," said head coach Phil Neville.
Next, Inter Miami will return home for its third match in a week, taking on the New York Red Bulls on Friday, Sept. 17 at 7 p.m. ET.
Tickets for Friday's match can be found here.