Robert Taylor scored twice as Inter Miami defeated Toronto FC 4-0 on Wednesday, allaying their chances of making the playoffs despite Lionel Messi’s absence.
Due to muscular exhaustion, Messi missed Saturday’s 5-2 loss against Atlanta but was forced to leave the field in the 38th minute, seeming uncomfortable.
Three minutes into the game, his old Barcelona teammate, Jordi Alba, a Spaniard who had also missed the journey to Atlanta, hobbled out.
In the intermission, Miami coach Gerardo Martino told broadcasters on Apple TV, “They had to come out, we will evaluate them in the coming days.”
Even after losing their best player and one of their most important players, Miami easily defeated the team at the bottom of the Eastern Conference.
At the 1:10 mark of the second half, Toronto goalkeeper Tomas Romero pathetically palmed away a cross from Noah Allen, setting up a goal for Facundo Farias.
Alternate Then, in the 54th minute, Robert Taylor scored a spectacular own goal to double the lead. He dribbled across the box from the left before launching a hard-angled shot that went back into the bottom corner.
Substitute Benjamin Cremaschi was subsequently released by Taylor, who took the lead by shooting Romero in the legs to make it 3-0.
With his fourth goal, Finnish international Taylor finished off his impressive display by stopping a floating ball from Farias over the top and scoring from close range.
The way that Taylor, Cremaschi, and other replacements have played will give Miami hope that they can keep pushing for the postseason even if Messi and Alba could need more time to recover from injuries.
Goalie Drake Callender remarked, “It shows guys are willing to step up, shows the depth we have on our team, and the collective mentality we approach each game with.”
As he went on, “I think it shows that if you get an opportunity to play on this team, you’re prepared for it, whether we have players who come off the bench or our original starting eleven.”
Sunday’s trip to Orlando by Miami helped them climb to 13th place in the Eastern Conference, five points behind Wayne Rooney’s D.C. United, who are now in ninth place and the last playoff slot. Miami has control of two games.
While other results went Miami’s way, D.C. United was held to a 1-1 tie against Atlanta at home.
After giving up a stoppage time penalty that Daniel Gazdag converted in a 2-2 draw at home to Philadelphia, Charlotte, whom Miami must face twice, has dropped to only two points ahead of the Florida team.
The second-fastest hattrick from the start in MLS history was scored by Colombian Cucho Hernandez in the Columbus Crew’s 3-0 victory against the Chicago Fire in only 23 minutes.
Defeating second-place Orlando City 2-0 at home, New York City, in tenth place, maintained their prospects of making the playoffs.
Eastern Conference leaders Cincinnati needed an Argentina goal late in stoppage time from Luciano Acosta to tie eighth-place Montreal for a point.