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Inter Miami vs Toronto is on Wednesday night, another Eastern Conference clash for Gerardo Martino’s side to navigate on their Playoffs quest. Lionel Messi sat at home eating pizza rather than travelling to Atlanta, and there is speculation over his reappearance date.
In his absence Leo Campana was on song, scoring twice and earning a place in the MLS Team of the Week. Toronto head into this match on the back of a home defeat to fellow Canadians the Vancouver Whitecaps.
It is a must win for the home team to keep up their playoff hopes. Here are the Inter Miami vs Toronto predicted lineups.
Inter Miami vs Toronto predicted lineups and news
Martino rested several players for the game against Atlanta, taking into account the international break and the artificial grass in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The Argentine coach has rotated heavily already using 23 different players in his first six Major League Soccer matches.
Toronto, the bottom-ranked side in the Eastern Conference, are in transition at the moment with new boss John Herdman not set to take over until October 1st. Interim coach Terry Dunfield hasn’t been able to turn the ship around, nor get the best of his star players Lorenzo Insigne and Federico Bernardeschi.
Team news: Inter Miami
Back to back weeks for #️⃣9️⃣
— Inter Miami CF (@InterMiamiCF) September 18, 2023
The standard back four is set to return this week with Sergey Kryvstov replacing Tomás Áviles as centreback and Jordi Alba in line to take up the left fullback role. Both Kamal Miller and DeAndre Yedlin have started every league match under Martino.
In midfield the Paraguayan midfielder Diego Gómez remains a doubt, it means Cremaschi is likely to continue with Busquets and Arroyo. The young Argentinian forward Facundo Farias had a good game in Messi’s absence and will be fighting the Finnish international Robert Taylor for a starting spot.
Inter Miami predicted lineup: 4-3-3
Callender – Yedlin, Miller, Kryvstov, Alba – Arroyo, Busquets, Cremaschi – Messi, Campana, Farias
Team news: Toronto
The Reds have failed to win in their last 17 away matches in all competitions and are on a run of six straight losses on the road. In that time they’ve scored just once, a DeAndre Kerr goal, and conceded 17 times.
Therefore, Dunfield will have a defensive lineup in mind, as he tries to somehow stop the flow of goals. Captain Michael Bradley has been partnered by Norwegian international Sigurd Rosted for the past two matches, the 29 year old had been out in the cold since May.
Up front the young Canadian striker DeAndre Kerr has been pushing for a leading role over veteran Charles Sapong, the 34 year old has just one MLS goal this year. Assuming Dunfield continues with three up front, to incorporate his Italian DP duo of Bernadeschi and Insigne, the midfield balance will be vital. The experience of former Barcelona man Víctor Vásquez, who played with Messi way back in 2008, might be called upon here.
Toronto predicted lineup: 4-3-3
Romero- Franklin, Bradley, Rosted, Petretta – Osorio, Coello, Ibarra – Bernardeschi, Insigne, Kerr
Will Messi play today?
Lionel Messi revealed he wasn’t going to play against Atlanta by posting his Friday night pizza on Instagram, while the rest of the side were on their travels. He had been in training on return from international duty, but the decision was taken to give him additional rest.
This week Martino dropped a hint that the US Open Cup is the priority, which has some people wondering if he will wait until next week to reinstate a fully refreshed Messi to the starting XI. While that may not be the case, the likelihood is that the Pulga won’t start both MLS games before then.
— Alex Windley (@aaw_1998) September 16, 2023
Toronto at home is arguably the easiest game left on the schedule, so one line of thought says Inter Miami don’t need their star for this one as much as at the weekend. However, with the next match on Sunday, it leaves less rest for the Cup Final meaning Messi probably won’t feature from the off against Orlando. We think he starts in this game against Toronto, ready to add to his already impressive goal record with The Herons.
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