Due to an injury, Lionel Messi was unable to play in Inter Miami’s 1-1 draw with Orlando City SC yesterday night, leaving the team anxious going into the US Open Cup final on Wednesday.
Former Barcelona teammates Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba joined the World Cup champion on the sidelines, despite none of them being listed among the substitutes.
A tie signaled a lost opportunity for Miami to gain ground in the race for the playoffs after a string of victories had made that possibility possible. With two more games played than their competitors, ninth-place New York City, is five points ahead of Tata Martino’s Miami club in current standings.
The first goal didn’t come until the 52nd minute, as both teams took their time getting into the game. David Ruiz, a midfielder, ended the score after Josef Martnez’s attempt was saved.
Only a few minutes later, Orlando attacker Duncan McGuire equalized with a well-placed shot that slipped between the legs of goalkeeper Drake Callender.
Miami will be upset despite earning a point because the club still needs two more points to move up to 11th position. The outcome follows defeats for DC United, Montreal, and Charlotte FC, three league rivals.
The absence of Messi, Busquets, and Alba—with the Argentine still nursing an injury—added gasoline to the flames. Due to the busy schedule, it is thought that Busquets and Alba were both rested before the final.
In Miam’s 4-0 victory over Toronto last week, the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner picked up an injury that necessitated his substitution in the 37th minute. The injury could not have happened at a worse moment as Miami was aiming to win their second trophy of the year in the US Open Cup final.
Miami, with or without their star forward, will be seeking to add to their trophy cabinet after defeating Nashville in the Leagues Cup final earlier in the summer.
After the tie with Orlando, the head coach of Inter Miami, Tata Martino, was asked if he could predict the likelihood that Messi will be fit for the championship game. We have to take things day by day, so it’s very challenging to give him a percentage, he added.
“We will continue to assess him, and as I always say, I will first listen to him to gauge his emotional state. Next, we’ll also need to consider potential hazards. Though it’s not an easy choice, we’ll take our time and attempt to avoid making a mistake.