Inter Miami CF are going to the 2020 MLS Cup playoffs.
Considering how unlucky the club’s been since its inception — from not playing in the yet-to-be constructed Miami Freedom Park to marquee signings arriving late in the season — it wasn’t surprising for Inter Miami to deal with the circumstances they did in their regular-season finale Sunday at Inter Miami CF Stadium, a 2-1 victory versus FC Cincinnati.
Inter Miami were down two starting defenders (Nico Figal and Ben Sweat) and a key reserve (Brek Shea) due to injuries.
With Tropical Storm Eta looming, the combination of the wind — which reached up to 30 miles per hour in Fort Lauderdale, where the match was being played — and rain created a less than ideal environment for a soccer game.
But Inter Miami took care of business against Cincinnati despite the obstacles they were dealing with to become the seventh MLS expansion team to qualify for the playoffs in its first season.
In spite of the less than optimal circumstances, Inter Miami had good fortune from the other relevant matches on Sunday involving the other teams in contention for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Chicago Fire FC and Atlanta United FC dropped points in their respective matches, helping Inter Miami clinch the 10th seed in the conference.
The top-10 clubs in the 14-team Eastern qualified for the playoffs.
The Montreal Impact clinched the ninth seed in the East after beating D.C. United, 3-2,. The Chicago Fire, who entered Sunday in 10th-place, lost to New York City, 4-3, while Atlanta United lost to Columbus Crew, 2-1.
Inter Miami will play fellow expansion team Nashville SC, the seventh seed in the East, in a play-in match on Nov. 20 to determine who’ll advance to the playoffs' first round.
Mikey Ambrose, who started at left back in place of Sweat, had the game’s opening score for the first goal of his MLS career.
After a Lewis Morgan corner kick was deflected outside of Cincinnati’s box, Ambrose gathered the ball with a touch and sent a left-footed shot past Spencer Richey in the 19th minute to put Inter Miami up, 1-0.
Leandro Gonzalez Pirez scored Inter Miami’s second goal four minutes later with an assist from Morgan on a corner kick to give them a 2-0 lead.
Cincinnati closed in on Inter Miami in the 66th minute when Joseph-Claude Gyau slotted a slot past John McCarthy to bring their lead down to, 2-1.
Inter Miami looked like they were in danger when center back Andres Reyes was given his second yellow card and disqualified from the match, dropping Miami to 10 players on the field.
But they held on for the victory and celebrated in front of the 2,703 fans in attendance who stuck through the inclement weather.
This story will be updated.
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