Inter Miami was in a prime position to put themselves into a playoff spot following a victory against the Houston Dynamo. However, they failed to outmatch beatable teams, garnering just one point in two matches.
Now, they face an uphill battle to get to the postseason.
Miami controlled the play against Atlanta United, and even a neutral soccer fan would agree that they were probably deserving of all three points. When Brek Shea put Inter Miami up 1-0 in the 80th minute it felt like that would be the case. But of course, in true Inter Miami fashion, they conceded right after they scored and the points were shared on the night.
They outshot Atlanta 21-3 with six of their shots on target with the opposition getting just one effort on goal. Even with all those disparities on the stat sheet, at the end of 90 minutes, the scoreboard showed 1-1, and the teams each earned one point.
In the next game against Montreal, they had a chance to hop themselves in the standings with a win but instead lost 2-1. The team fell behind early but it was once again Shea who scored and equalized for Inter Miami.
The game was knotted until the 80th minute when Montreal scored a crucial goal in the playoff race that secured all three points for them.
Montreal now sits in the ninth spot of the Eastern Conference and five points clear of the Miami side, which seems like a hard deficit to overcome with just four games remaining.
Inter Miami’s only realistic chance will be catching the Chicago Fire to sneak in the 10th spot and play the seventh seed in a play-in game to get to the postseason. Miami is two points behind the Fire, who have five games remaining, having played one less at this stage in the season.
Miami will also need to pass Atlanta, as they’re one point above them in standings.
One positive to look at for Inter Miami is the Fire’s schedule. All of those five matches are against teams above them in the standings, including a match-up against the second-best team in the Eastern Conference, the Philadelphia Union.
Atlanta United on the other hand plays the two worst teams in the Eastern Conference in FC Cincinnati, who Inter Miami also get to play, and D.C United. The other team games are against tougher opponents in Orlando City and the Columbus Crew.
Inter Miami will play in-state rival Orlando for the fourth time this season Saturday as both teams have contrasting chances of making the MLS postseason. They will also play Toronto FC, the No. 1 team in the Eastern Conference, FC Dallas and FC Cincinnati.
Inter Miami must make the most of those four games left in the season and get some help to make amends if they want to see themselves in the playoffs in their inaugural season. Even with inconsistent play this season, they’re still very much alive in the playoff race for the final stretch.