There is only one game in MLS tonight, Inter Miami CF vs Charlotte FC. While it might not feature New York City FC, you can be sure that every NYCFC player, coach, staff member, and fan will be paying close attention to the result.
Why? Because if Charlotte win, NYCFC are officially eliminated from the 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs.
That’s right, all of New York City’s hopes to make the playoffs for the eighth consecutive year depends entirely on Inter Messi holding off a Charlotte that won their two most recent games by a combined score of 5-0.
To put it simply, if Miami win or draw, NYCFC live to see another day — and will need a win on Saturday if they are to sneak into the playoffs. If Miami lose, New York City are out of the postseason.
Game Day Essentials
- Matchday 33: Inter Miami vs Charlotte FC
- Date and Time: Wednesday, October 18, 8 pm ET
- Kickoff Time: 8:09 pm ET
- Venue: DRV PNK Stadium
- Watch: Apple TV
- Officiating Crew: Lukasz Szpala (referee), Cameron Blanchard and Walt Heatherly (assistant refs), Chris Penso (fourth official), Timothy Ford (VAR), TJ Zablocki (assistant VAR)
Miami will be without Lionel Messi, who was busy last night scoring goals for Argentina.
But the rest of the Miami squad will be ready to suit up. According to Miami Herald reporter Michelle Kaufman, Miami head coach Tata Martino said that Jordi Alba, Leonardo Campana, Gregore, Diego Gomez, and Robbie Robinson recovered from injury and will be available to play.
Miami have cooled off after a scintillating late-summer run that saw them lift the Leagues Cup in August, then lose the US Open Cup final by just one goal in September. The last time they won a game was almost one month ago, when they defeated MLS punching bag Toronto FC 4-0 on September 20.
The fact is, Inter Miami have nothing to play for tonight except pride. The team cannot make the playoffs, and the only way they can climb out of 14th place in the Eastern Conference table is if they win their two remaining games. Both of those are against Charlotte.
For their part, Charlotte are on a two-game wining streak. That opened with a 3-0 home win over Toronto, which isn’t anything to write home about. But they posted an impressive 0-2 away victory over the Chicago Fire on the most recent gameday to climb above NYCFC in the table, and to keep their playoff hopes alive.
With a win tonight, Charlotte will rocket from 12th to 8th place in the table, putting themselves in a strong position to make the playoffs for the first time in club history.
They will also eliminate NYCFC from the postseason, and New York City will fail to make the playoffs for the first time since their inaugural season in 2015.
A Miami win or draw and NYCFC will live to fight another day. Saturday’s Decision Day will live up to its name, and if New York City are to advance they will need to defeat Chicago that evening. And the New Jersey Red Bulls will need to lose to Nashville SC. And Miami will need to once again defeat or draw Charlotte.
But first, NYCFC need Miami to get a result tonight.