Rodolfo Pizarro scored twice as Inter Miami CF looked like the team they’ve aspired to be since joining MLS as an expansion side last year, defeating Toronto FC 3-1 at DRV PNK Stadium on Saturday night.
HIGHLIGHTS: Inter Miami CF vs. Toronto FC | August 21, 2021
Miami picked up a pivotal three points in their pursuit of a playoff spot, as a pair of spectacular goals from Pizarro and one from Robbie Robinson were the difference in this one. Phil Neville's side has now picked up points in six out of their last seven matches, while Toronto saw their winless streak reach six games.
The home side came out firing right from the jump. Making his second start in goal for Toronto FC in as many games, Quentin Westberg made a big stop to keep the match level in the 14th minute, denying Pizarro with a kick save from point-blank range. But the Mexican international got his goal seconds later, cutting past Toronto FC defender Luke Singh before calmly slotting home to give Inter Miami the early 1-0 lead.
Yeferson Soteldo almost brought the visitors back level in the 24th minute when the Venezuelan international’s free kick from 25 yards out beat a sprawling Nick Marsman, but not the woodwork.
Ten minutes later, Inter Miami doubled their advantage through Robinson. The 22-year-old American gathered a beautiful through ball from Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, easing past Omar Gonzalez with a silky move before lifting it over the TFC keeper for a 2-0 lead in the 35th minute.
There wasn't much that Westberg could do on Pizarro's second tally of the night. Shortly after the start of the second half, the Inter Miami Designated Player once again got in behind, this time delicately chipping his effort over a helpless Westberg to make it 3-0 in the 48th minute.
An own goal from Kieran Gibbs in the 62nd minute was the only blemish on an otherwise thrilling evening for Inter Miami, who despite recent success, have only managed to keep a clean sheet on one occasion this season.
- THE BIG PICTURE: Inter Miami are confident and it showed. They have now won three out of their last four matches and, after a difficult start to the season, are pushing toward the seventh and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Toronto’s performance, meanwhile, encapsulates how their season has gone thus far as they’re now winless in their last six outings. They remain bottom of the overall league table.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: Inter Miami scored three beautiful goals Saturday, but Pizarro's second of the evening takes the cake – a slick chip over Toronto's keeper that would make any striker proud.
GOAL: Rodolfo Pizarro, Inter Miami CF - 48th minute
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Rodolfo Pizarro. He now has goals in back-to-back games, and this was easily his best performance of the season.
- MIA: Heineken Rivalry Week match: Friday, August 27 vs. Orlando City SC | 8:30 pm ET (ESPN, ESPN Deportes)
- TOR: Friday, August 27 vs. CF Montréal | 7:30 pm ET (TVA Sports, TSN)