Losses by the Chicago Fire and Atlanta United allowed Inter Miami to clinch the 10th and final berth in the East and a Play-In match against fellow expansion side Nashville SC on Friday, Nov., 20 (9 p.m. ET on ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, TSN and TVA Sports).
Playing with the wind at their backs, the opening half of the match was dominated by the hosts, and Inter Miami eventually reaped the rewards of their efforts with a sensational 19th-minute goal from Mikey Ambrose, who scored his first career MLS goal. A Miami corner was deflected out and found Ambrose, who blasted home from outside the penalty area. The hosts then doubled their lead by scoring from another corner just four minutes later, when a Leandro Gonzalez Pirez header looped over the goalkeeper.
The tables turned after the break and Cincinnati stepped up the attack in the second half. They eventually closed the gap with Joe Gyau's 66th minute goal. Brandon Vazquez passed to Gyau, who unleashed a spectacular curling effort from outside of the penalty area into the top left corner.
Cincinnati continued to push for an equalizer, which would have knocked Miami out of the playoffs, but Inter Miami dug in defensively and held on to the victory although they had a nervy final minutes when they were reduced to 10 men after center back Andres Reyes received a second yellow.
- 19' - MIA - Mikey Ambrose | WATCH
- 23' - MIA - Leandro Gonzalez Pirez | WATCH
- 66' - CIN - Joe Gyau | WATCH
- THE BIG PICTURE: Miami secured a playoff spot in their inaugural season winning a match under difficult conditions and doing just enough on both sides of the ball to secure a victory. Cincinnati almost matched their opponents, but they could not make their 63.2 percent possession count as they close out the season with the worst record in MLS (4W-15L-4D).
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: There were two nice goals in this game, but the more pivotal one was Mikey Ambrose's first-half goal from outside the box. It allowed Miami to build momentum for a quick two-goal lead, which was just enough for the victory.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Lewis Morgan was an essential part of Miami's attacking success on the day, picking up an assist on Leandro Gonzalez Pirez's goal and recording three shots overall.
- MIA: Fri., Nov. 20 at Nashville SC (Play-In Match) | 9 p.m. ET on ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, TSN and TVA Sports
- CIN: End of season