FCC-Inter Miami Preview
Diego Alonso is looking to keep Inter Miami focused on their game against FC Cincinnati rather than Decision Day permutations elsewhere.
Expansion side Inter enter the final game of the regular season still in with a chance of reaching the playoffs.
However, despite having an apparently favourable fixture against Cincy, Miami are 0.1 points per game and two places below the postseason line.
They need favors from at least two teams - with Atlanta United, Montreal Impact and Chicago Fire all within reach and DC United close behind - but Alonso is keen to ensure Inter do their own job first.
"We have to focus on winning our game," the coach said. "And we're convinced that if we win, we'll qualify. That's how we have to think.
"We have to be positive and believe that we're capable of doing it, being able to win and then wait for the other results.
"It's all about winning, and if we get two or three other results to go our way, we're in the playoffs.
"Stay positive, good energy, believe in ourselves, believe that we can win, although the game won't be easy."
Opponents Cincinnati are playing without the same pressure after they were eliminated from playoff contention.
Bottom of the East but with a worse squad on paper than their rivals, Jaap Stam insisted the team had given their all this season.
"The players need to push themselves but - by saying this, I need to be honest as well - I'm not always disappointed in the players," he said.
"Not at all because the majority of the time as well we see that they're willing to work hard but the end product is just not there at times.
"The willingness to do things a lot of times is there but we need to change certain things to get things done."
Inter Miami - Gonzalo HiguainIt is for games like this that Inter splashed out on Higuain. The former Real Madrid and Juventus man has not enjoyed a hugely successful start to life in MLS, with as many red cards as goals (one of each), but all will be forgiven if he can fire Miami into the playoffs.
FC Cincinnati - Jurgen Locadia
Speaking of costly striker signings who have not so far delivered. Cincinnati players are surely playing for the futures and Locadia, whose loan was extended into next season, simply must improve. He also has just one goal but has played 16 games.
- This match will be the first time 2019 MLS newcomers FC Cincinnati face off against an expansion side. No other teams were added in 2019 and Cincinnati did not play Nashville this season.
- Inter Miami have lost only two of their eight home matches this season (W4 D2), including none of the previous three (W2 D1). They are yet to win consecutive home matches, but they could accomplish that feat after winning their previous home match 2-1 against Orlando City.
- Cincinnati have lost eight of their past nine matches (W1), managing just three total goals in that time. Cincy have failed to score in 13 of the 17 matches they have played since the regular season resumed in August.
- Inter lost 2-1 to Toronto on Sunday after jumping out to a 1-0 lead thanks to a goal from Blaise Matuidi late in the first half. It was the fourth time Miami have lost after scoring the opening goal this season, two more than any other team in MLS.
- Cincinnati have scored 11 times in their first 22 matches this season, the fewest at this stage of a season in MLS history. Cincy will have to score at least twice against Miami to avoid having the fewest goals after 23 matches of a season in league history (DC United - 13 goals in 2013).
Updated November 6, 2020