“We’re a top team”: Inter Miami bolster playoff credentials vs. Toronto FC

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Miami are now unbeaten in their last five matches to reach fifth place in the Eastern Conference standings. It marks a dramatic turnaround for a side that picked up just one point (1D, 4L) from their first five matches to start the 2022 season and has undergone near-wholesale roster changes while sporting director Chris Henderson navigates sanctions he inherited.

“We’re a top team”: Inter Miami bolster playoff credentials vs. Toronto FC

“The beginning of the season is history for us. We’re not the Inter Miami from last year or a couple months ago, you know? New identity,” Jamaican international defender Damion Lowe told media after the match.

Miami are now unbeaten in their last five matches to reach fifth place in the Eastern Conference standings. It marks a dramatic turnaround for a side that picked up just one point (1D, 4L) from their first five matches to start the 2022 season and has undergone near-wholesale roster changes while sporting director Chris Henderson navigates sanctions he inherited.

“The beginning of the season is history for us. We’re not the Inter Miami from last year or a couple months ago, you know? New identity,” Jamaican international defender Damion Lowe told media after the match.

With their recent run of form (4W-1L-2D), head coach Phil Neville’s side has quickly gone from a major question mark to make the postseason to now potentially hosting a home playoff match. Miami are five points back of the fourth-place New York Red Bulls, with a game in hand, raising the stakes for next Saturday’s encounter at Red Bull Arena (7 pm ET | MLS LIVE on ESPN+).

With just eight games remaining in the regular season, it’s the right time of year to be clicking. There’s a new level of determination and belief within the dressing room to succeed after 10th-place (2020) and 11th-place (2021) finishes their first two seasons. The expansion year brought a playoff berth in an expanded field, but expectations had largely fallen flat.

“How hungry? I mean, we’re like somebody that hasn’t eaten for weeks. That’s how badly we want this. We believe that we’re a top team,” said Lowe.

Added the center back: “We built a culture, on and off the field, a brotherhood you know? Being your brother’s keeper, looking out for each other. This is a massive club, and from day one, we knew that … we want to be a top team in the league.”

Inter Miami were outshot 16-8 and out-possessed 59% to 41% against Toronto, but they buckled down and found a way to secure all three points. The result created a six-point gap and much-needed separation between themselves and Toronto, who suffered their first league loss since Italy national team forwards Lorenzo Insigne and Federico Bernardeschi arrived this summer (previously 3W-0L-2D).

While Neville was happy with the result, the English manager made abundantly clear that internal expectations have been raised.

“It was a big win. Big win,” Neville said after Jean Mota and Ariel Lassiter scored vs. the Reds. “I also think that we set such high standards that we fell below those standards tonight, so I’m a little disappointed because I think in moments like this, you’ve got to keep pushing the level we play at.”

” … This team never quits,” he added. “This team has an incredible, incredible spirit … I do feel that something special is happening, and when you have moments like this, you shouldn’t take it for granted, and that’s why I was a little hard on them tonight: I wanted better.”

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“We’re a top team”: Inter Miami bolster playoff credentials vs. Toronto FC

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