Toronto Star

Visit from Miami adds to Reds’ woes

With stars out of action, last-place team extends losing streak to six games

- NEIL DAVIDSON

Christian Makoun’s 95th-minute penalty lifted Inter Miami CF to a 1-0 win over 10-man Toronto FC on Tuesday, extending TFC’s losing streak to six and winless run to nine (07-2).

The penalty was called after Chris Mavinga took down Makoun in the box.

There was confusion in the 87th minute when Toronto substitute Jacob Shaffelbur­g appeared to have scored, knocking in the ball after goalkeeper Nick Marsman was forced into a poor, emergency clearance under pressure. The ball went straight to Shaffelbur­g, whose shot appeared to cross the line before a diving Marsman bundled it out.

The Toronto substitute­s, warming up on the goal-line, all thought it was a goal but it was eventually deemed a corner. MLS does not have goal-line technology.

Miami (9-9-5) failed to take advantage until the dying seconds after defender Kemar Lawrence was sent off late in the first half for preventing a goal-scoring opportunit­y.

Toronto (3-15-6) acquitted itself well despite being a man down, hanging on for the single point.

TFC is now 0-2-4 at BMO Field since returning home from its pandemic-prompted sojourn in the U.S.

With thundersto­rms in the forecast and capacity capped at 15,000 by COVID, the game drew a sparse crowd announced at 7,970 to BMO Field.

The contest, Miami’s first MLS outing in Canada, featured two clubs headed in different directions.

Toronto, mired in the 27-team league’s basement, has not won since July 24, a 2-1 decision in Chicago.

TFC’s fall has been sudden. Last year, in a pandemic-shortened season, it finished runnerup in the Supporters’ Shield standings at 12-5-5. Calculated over a full season, at its rate of 1.91 points a game, Toronto would have finished with 64 points.

TFC came into Tuesday’s game with 15 points through 23 matches and was on pace for a 22-point season. Only five teams in MLS history have had fewer points at the same stage of the season, most recently D.C. United in 2013 (13 points).

After a 2-8-2 start, Miami is unbeaten in six (5-0-1) and had only lost one of its last 11 outings (7-1-3).

Phil Neville’s team has recorded four straight clean sheets.

Miami was coming off 1-0 wins over Cincinnati and Columbus and looking for its first-ever three-game MLS win streak.

Both sides were on a short turnaround, having played Saturday. Miami against Columbus while TFC lost 2-0 at FC Cincinnati, which came into the contest winless in 12 games (0-5-7).

Miami had taken 21 of a possible 30 points over its previous 10 games and, in ninth place in the East, was just two points below the playoff line. Toronto had collected six (1-6-3) over the same period and was 16 points out of the playoffs.

Toronto was without two of its three designated players with reigning league MVP Alejandro Pozuelo missing a second straight game due to a lower body injury. Star striker Jozy Altidore is recovering from ankle surgery.

 ?? CHRISTOPHE­R KATSAROV THE CANADIAN PRESS ?? Toronto FC midfielder Yeferson Soteldo battles with Inter Miami defender Nicolas Figal at BMO Field on Tuesday night.
CHRISTOPHE­R KATSAROV THE CANADIAN PRESS Toronto FC midfielder Yeferson Soteldo battles with Inter Miami defender Nicolas Figal at BMO Field on Tuesday night.

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