Higuain’s Goal Gives Inter Miami CF the 1-0 Win North of the Border Against Toronto FC

BMO Field – Inter Miami CF grind out a 1-0 victory over Toronto FC Friday night on the road, and once again Gonzalo Higuain scored the decisive goal to give the Herons a colossal three points in their chase for a playoff spot.

Miami’s Starting XI against Toronto FC was the same as the previous match versus DC United.

Chris Mcvey, Aime Mabika, Damion Lowe, and DeAndre Yedlin made up the defensive backline, with Gregore, Jean Mota, Bryce Duke, and Alejandro Pozuelo making up the midfield diamond. Leonardo Campana and Gonzalo Higuain were the forwards for Miami.

First Half

The initial minutes of the first half had Inter Miami CF controlling the tempo of the match, with greater ball possession than Toronto.  Around the 20′ minute mark the game opened up and both teams began to generate scoring chances, with neither team able to finish their opportunities.

Drake Callender made a marvelous save of a Bernardeschi blast at the 36′ minute.  The teams continued attacking without any effectivity, and closed out the half 0-0.

Second Half

In the second half Jean Mota came close to putting Miami on the board with a free-kick that graced the post and went out of bounds at the 50′ minute.

Alejandro Pozuelo threaded a brilliant pass to Ariel Lassiter near the 72′ minute that left Ariel one on one with the Toronto goalie, but Lassiter had his attempt blocked.

Once the clock hits 80′ minutes it becomes Miami Time, and a goal is imminent in this crazy season. Gonzalo Higuain bailed Inter Miami out with a smooth Golazo at the 86′ minute, striking a dart into the corner of the Toronto FC goal.

Robert Taylor began the sequence with a short pass to Pozuelo, who looked in and touched the ball to a charging Jean Mota. Mota quickly passed forward to Taylor who nipped the ball into the box for Higuain. Gonzalo cunningly faked towards the ball and left the Toronto defender behind, setting himself up to strike the ball with his left leg.

In a cold, fantastic fashion, Higuain slid his shot into the back of the Toronto goal, sealing the deal for the Herons. The match would end 1-0 with Inter Miami earning three pivotal points on the road.

Postgame Press Conference

At the press conference, both Phil Neville and Gonzalo Higuain were in good spirits, and provided nice sound bites. Gonzalo was presented first, and I asked him a couple of questions, which he answered graciously. This Gonzalo Higuain, the one at peace on and off the pitch is something to behold.

I want to focus on my question to Gonzalo about his current goal scoring streak, and how special it feels for him so late in his career to do this on a team with low expectations from the “experts”.

“That’s the beautiful thing about futbol, when no one expects anything from a team, and in the end they are giving it all to make the playoffs. I feel in one of the happiest moments of my career. If you asked me years ago if I would be happy in the MLS, it would have never crossed my mind. I’m enjoying playing futbol very much. I enjoy being a part of this team very much, with these type of players. Whether things go well or not, they leave their life on the pitch, and against that there could be no reproach. ”

The redemption of Gonzalo Higuain with himself, with this team, and with the fans has come full circle. The boos have turned to cheers. Gonzalo the man, and the player are at peace. Let’s enjoy this Argentine legend for what remains of this season, which might be his last.

During the match against Toronto FC, I felt that Bryce Duke and Jean Mota quietly had very good games. I asked Phil about Bryce and Jean, and their importance for the upcoming Orlando City game where Gregore will be out due to a yellow cards suspension.

“Mota I think had his best game in about three or four weeks…I thought he looked outstanding tonight.”

Jean Mota has been an unsung hero in my eyes this season. He has been consistent throughout the campaign, and has done everything Phil has asked of him. Mota plays the pivot, a position that in my estimation is not his most natural, despite that he has performed at a high level without complaining. He is a skillful player that could play box to box. He is one of the guys that leaves his life on the pitch.

On Bryce Duke, Phil stated,

“I thought against DC he did Ok, but I thought he didn’t play with personality and character, and Bryce Duke without personality and character is half the player.”

Bryce Duke was named as one of the MLS 22 Under 22 Players, which projects the best young talent in the league.  Duke is very talented, with the skills to be a difference maker in a game. The confidence must be as big as his talent, and that is where his personality and character will shine through.

Final Thoughts

Are you not entertained? Inter Miami CF has made this roller coaster season a thrilling ride for all its fans. You never know what will happen next with this team. They can take you to the highest peaks and drop you to the lowest depths.

If the team continues to go out and give maximum effort, leaving every drop of sweat and life on the pitch, then like Gonzalo said, that cannot be reproached. The team culture and foundation being built this season are the cornerstones for future success.

This season is not over yet, and it seems the fun is just beginning. Wednesday night and Sunday afternoon DRV PNK Stadium needs to be packed and raucous. The team is leaving it all on the pitch, the fans need to give it all in the stands.

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