Toronto FC defeat Inter Miami to earn first victory and clean sheet of the 2023 MLS season
FiredUp Network Sports Writer
Saturday, March 18, 2023
Toronto FC picked up their first win of the 2023 MLS season after a solid performance at home and two second-half goals to seal the win. The win also secured Sean Johnson's first clean sheet in a TFC uniform.
The TFC faithful braved the cold temperatures as they cheered on the Reds who were looking to bounce back from last weekend's draw with the Columbus Crew.
Coach Bradley went with his familiar 4-3-3 formation; Sean Johnson started in-goal; Raoul Petretta, Sigurd Rosted, Matt Hedges, and Richie Laryea on the backline; Mark-Anthony Kaye, Jonathan Osorio, and captain Michael Bradley in the midfield; and Brandon Servania, Deandre Kerr, and Federico Bernardeschi in the attack.
It was a nice start to the match for Toronto as they immediately put the ball in the box and tested Inter Miami goalkeeper Drake Callender.
The match began getting chippy in the 15 minute mark as Bradley received a yellow card, which was followed by a few strong challenges that raised the temperment of the match.
TFC had an excellent opportunity on the counterattack in the 26th minute, but were unable to get a final touch on the ball as Kaye mistimed his run by moving too far ahead. Moments later, Toronto had another solid opportunity as the team linked up well, resulting in Laryea having space to strike the ball on goal.
Toronto began finding success on the counterattack, which was a positive sign as they were able to capitalize on openings in Miami's backline. Bernardeschi received a through ball that led to him getting a shot on goal, but he was stopped by Callender and couldn't get to the rebound in time.
It took TFC only three minutes to get on the scoresheet as Osorio got a touch on a cross from Laryea to give his club the 1-0 lead. It was an excellent sequence that began with Bernardeschi receiving a cross pass from Kaye and laying the ball off to Laryea, who spotted Osorio with the cross.
Kaye extended Toronto's lead to 2-0 in the 69th minute after getting a touch on the ball off a set-piece play. The set-piece was a result of Laryea drawing a foul that led to a free-kick, which saw Bernardeschi whip a nicely placed cross into the box and Kaye finding the back of the net.
The frustration continued for Miami's backline as they had trouble containing Toronto's link-up plays off the wing, which resulted in a number of mistimed tackles. Toronto managed to maintain the lead and take all three points at home.
Lorenzo Insigne was once again ruled out of the lineup as he is still dealing with a lower-body injury and the coaching staff wants to remain cautious and not risk losing their star long-term.
Toronto FC are back in action next Saturday, when they travel to San Jose to play the Earthquakes.
Photo credit: Toronto FC (@TorontoFC - Twitter)