In the 8th edition of this fixture, Inter Miami CF host Toronto FC on Wednesday night. The match will be the first of two games for Miami this week, as they will stay in Florida to play Orlando City on Sunday. Continue reading for a soccer betting preview, prediction, and all the latest Lionel Messi news.
- What: MLS regular season match: Inter Miami CF vs Toronto FC
- When: September 20, 2023
- Time: 7:30 PM EST
- Where: DRV PNK Stadium, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
- TV: MLS Season Pass on Apple TV+
Inter Miami vs Toronto FC: Who is Expected to Win?
Inter Miami CF are massive favorites to win this match at home, currently paying out (-230) in the 3-way moneyline market. Toronto FC, on the other hand, are priced at (+550), giving the visitors just a 15.4% chance of pulling off the upset. A draw would result in a winning ticket paying out at (+390) at highly-rated sportsbook Bovada.
Will Lionel Messi Play vs Toronto FC?
Most Lionel Messi news of the past few weeks has revolved around whether or not he will suit up. MLS has a demanding schedule and Messi is not getting any younger. Rest, health, and field surface have been factors in Messi not playing in MLS games this season, much to the dismay of expensive ticket-holding fans. Messi did not travel with the club to Atlanta for their match on Saturday. This decision was likely in anticipation of Miami’s packed week ahead. The club will play three games in eight days, with two at home in Miami and one in Orlando.
I think Messi’s absence vs Atlanta United is a good sign he will be on the pitch Wednesday night. Inter Miami is still amidst an improbable playoff push, and their 5-2 loss last match did not help in those efforts. A win vs Toronto at home is practically a requirement to keep hopes alive. It would also make sense for Miami to play him on Wednesday, and then rest him vs Orlando City on Sunday so he will be ready for the US Open Cup Final next week.
Season Summaries for Inter Miami vs Toronto FC
Less than a year removed from hoisting the World Cup for Argentina, Lionel Messi joined Inter Miami as a part of a record-breaking deal. With the twilight of his career now taking place in South Beach, Americans are ecstatic about his arrival. MLS tickets and TV subscriptions are selling at unbelievable rates. Inter Miami has now jumped from one of the least popular teams to selling out of merchandise.
On the other hand, Toronto FC don’t have much to be proud of this season. The squad finally broke a 10-match losing streak with a win over the Philadelphia Union, only to lose at home to fellow Canadians Vancouver last time out. However, they do have some reason for optimism. The club hired former Canada manager John Herdman to oversee the team permanently, beginning in October.
Inter Miami vs Toronto FC Preview and Breakdown
With Messi expected to be back in the rotation and against a less-threatening opponent, we should see Inter Miami open out in a 4-3-3 formation. The team will look to leverage an extra forward to widen the attack and give space for Messi and Busquets to operate. If Miami gets out to an early lead, wing backs like Jordi Alba and Deandre Yedlin may find themselves with opportunities to play the sideline.
Toronto FC also loves to play a 4-3-3 formation, with Michael Bradley holding up the back. Italian compatriots Leandro Insigne and Federico Bernadeschi will straddle the wing positions and hope to burst through a often-leaky Inter Miami defensive line. While August and September have been more promising, this team has struggled mightily offensively. In the month of July across all competitions, Toronto FC failed to score a single goal.
Best Bets for Inter Miami vs. Toronto FC
Clubs playing Messi-led Inter Miami for their first time have looked starstruck. The massive crowds, intense media scrutiny, and pure awe of one of the world’s greatest to ever play are seemingly overwhelming challenges for MLS players. To place our money wisely, we must consider this possible macro-pattern and pay close attention to any Messi news.
Toronto FC have been poor all season, but especially poor on the road, and even more so in the first half. The club has only scored one goal in the first half all season. And while Inter Miami’s defense does not strike fear in their opponents, Messi just might. Inter Miami, meanwhile, have proven to be a much better team in the first half. Despite their bottom-dwelling status, they have managed a goal differential of 0 in the first half at home.
For these reasons, I think Inter Miami to win the first half at (-105) is a steal. Toronto will be slow and unfocused coming out, and should give up at least one early goal on the road.
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