Lionel Messi’s genius on a soccer field always leaves new chapters. On Wednesday, Inter Miami earned the right to play in the US Open Cup final by defeating FC Cincinnati, the best team in the Eastern Conference, on penalties as a visitor. Shortly before, those directed by Gerardo “Tata” Martino won the Leagues Cup, a triumph that will allow them to play the Concachampions, a tournament organized by Concacaf.
In just over 40 days, the Argentine star changed the fate of a team that, until his arrival, was lost and aimless.
With Messi on the pitch, Inter Miami played eight games, of which they won five and drew three. And from those draws, he retired with a victory on penalties. In addition, the world champion with Argentina scored 10 goals.
The challenges of Major League Soccer after the arrival of the “tsunami” Messi
But the number of games played begins to show in the physique of the players. That was more than evident in the match against FC Cincinnati, when it was seen that neither the star nor his teammates had the freshness of the previous games.
Messi debuts in the local tournament
This Saturday comes another important moment and it is nothing less than the debut of the crack in the United States League. David Beckham, one of the most important visible faces of the Florida franchise, dreamed that his team could become one of the main cheerleaders in the League. In sports, the arrival of Messi gave another face to Inter Miami. This new physiognomy must continue to grow so that the club can leave behind its current situation, which finds it in the last position of the Eastern Conference with 18 points (in 22 games and with pending matches), product of five wins, three draws and 14 losses. .
For this long-awaited debut of Messi in the MLS, the team will have to rest more than work. The vertigo of the last few weeks forces Martino to dose his efforts and think long before defining the formation that will take to the pitch. This is perhaps the biggest challenge facing the Argentine coach.
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In last Wednesday’s match, the Argentines Facundo Farías (from Colón de Santa Fe) and Tomás Avilés (who stood out in Racing) debuted. Both showed flashes of quality. Farías, above all, who demonstrated personality and daring by partnering with Messi on several occasions. It will be necessary to wait until a few hours before the game to find out if Martino considers it appropriate to give the two young Argentine players the opportunity to play from the start.
Lionel Messi and Inter Miami pull off miraculous comeback to advance to US Open Cup final
Inter Miami has not played in MLS since July 15, when it lost 3-0 to St Louis City SC. This Saturday will be the first game of a total of 11 remaining in the season and in which he will try to discount the 14 points that Chicago Fire brings him, a team that for now is the last classified to the playoffs.
The rival: New York Red Bulls
The Big Apple team was founded in 1994 under the name Empire Soccer Club. In 1995 they became the New York/New Jersey MetroStars, an institution that played a central role in the formation of the MLS.
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The reds have been led since May by Troy Lesesne, and are currently in eleventh position with 29 points, product of seven wins, eight draws and nine losses. In his usual starting formation he has the Brazilian goalkeeper Carlos Coronel, the Colombian central defender Andrés Reyes, the midfielder of Mexican origin Omir Fernández and the creative midfielder Luquinhas. It is an irregular team that is still looking for its best form. Aggressive in attack and interesting partnerships in attack, they represent the next obstacle on the way for Messi and Inter Miami towards their goal of making history.
What time and where to see the New York Red Bulls – Inter Miami
Stadium: Red Bull Arena
Capacity: 25,000 spectators
City: Harrison, New Jersey
6.30 p.m. Ecuador – Peru
7.30 pm Miami – Chile – Bolivia – Paraguay – Venezuela
8.30 pm Argentina – Brazil – Uruguay
TV: Apple TV on MLS Pass
Possible formation of the New York Red Bulls:
Colonel, Nealis, Harper, Ndam, Tolkin, Fernández, Edelman, Amaya, Luquinhas, Vanzeir and Elias Manoel.
Possible formation of Inter Miami:
Callender; Yedlin, Kryvtsov, Miller, Alba; Arroyo, Busquets, Gomez; Farías, Campana and Lionel Messi.